Bulls Cruise to 5-0 Win Over Encinal in Varsity Girls Soccer Season Opener

Branson’s 2019-20 campaign to defend their MCAL and NorCal D3 Championships began with many unanswered questions. Who would replace “Player of the Decade” Callie Jones (Johns Hopkins) at forward? Who would provide the leadership and steady play of 4-year defensive starter Allie Westley (Stanford)? Who would negotiate with the refs on any and all calls like Renee Ferguson (Harvard)?

Branson’s starting line-up gave some clues to Coach Tyler’s thinking. Back from knee surgery, Marina Andreadis (Sr) would step into Westley’s role. Andreadis' resume includes several stints in Cal North Olympic Development and many years of playing on the top Marin FC team. At midfield, Emma Allen (So) would move to the holding midfielder position.  The precocious Allen is clearly as articulate as Ferguson and just uses fewer profanities. As for replacing Jones, no one player was going to be able to do that and a committee of Sydney Hwang (Jr), Grace Johnson (So), Hodges Day (Jr), and Anna Lardner (So) would likely see early action.

Against Encinal, Branson controlled play for nearly all of the game. Eliana Prosnitz (Sr) picked up a loose ball outside the box and found Allen who had pushed up from her holding mid position. Allen sent a shot from 20 yards to the left of the keeper for the first goal of the game. Allen was impressive in her new role, as she successfully initiated much of the offense. Prosnitz and Abby Dillion (Sr) then combined for some nice passes and Dillon launched a deep outside shot over the head of the keeper for the 2nd goal.  A nice cross by Johnson found Amanda Morris (So) who poked the ball forward. Day, of the famed dynasty of Day girls, poked in the third goal.  In the second half, Noelle Namba (Jr) took over scoring 2 goals, both lovely shots perfectly aimed at the corner of the net. Namba’s move to attacking mid provides an additional scoring threat for the Bulls.

Defensively, Branson looked organized and strong.  Encinal did not get a shot on net. Sophomore Lena Sugrue and Andreadis anchored the defense in the middle. Avery Hansen (Jr) was a powerful two-way threat on the left.  Caroline DeLeon (So) and Jojo Huff (Sr) shared duties on the right. This group was the stingiest in MCAL last year and will need a similar effort this year. 

In a rematch of last year’s title game, the Bulls face Redwood on Wednesday, December 4 in the opening week of MCAL play.

 

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Eric Prosnitz

December 2, 2019