None of the players on the current team had been born the last time Coachella Valley High School hung a girls’ soccer league title banner in the gym. It was 1995, the year after La Quinta High School opened. Since then Desert Mirage and Shadow Hills have opened their doors not far from CVHS in eastern Coachella Valley.
With Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Rancho Mirage High, though, another banner may not be far away.
The Arabs (15-7-1, 8-1 De Anza) handed the Rattlers their first league loss of the season, and will earn at least a share of the De Anza League title and raise a “2017” banner if they can end their regular season Thursday at Desert Mirage with a win.
The Rattlers will also earn at least a share of the league title – the first in the school’s brief history – if they defeat Twentynine Palms Thursday in Rancho Mirage.
“If we win Thursday, they’ll get that banner,” Coachella Valley head coach Francisco Morales said. “And we’ll get some momentum going into the postseason.”
After a scoreless, choppy first half, Arabs’ sophomore forward Miranda Torres broke down the Rancho Mirage defense and scored the decisive goal in the 45th minute.
Torres, who has played with a bulky black brace on her right hand after breaking her thumb earlier this season, split a pair of defenders and sailed the ball beyond the outstretched arms of goalie Jasmin Sterling.
“Miranda is playing her best right now,” Morales said. “She’s tall and athletic, and she can do things not many players can with her athleticism. She’s not missed a game with the injury, and we needed her tonight.”
The second goal came a few minutes later, when junior forward Adrianna Moreno’s header bounced off the goal post and to the feet of junior captain Mariah Godinez, who fired the ball through a pack of defenders into the back of the net with a crowd of more than a hundred on its feet.
Kenya Cordero, the Rattlers’ all-time leading scorer, later missed a penalty kick attempt that could have put Rancho Mirage back into the game, and CV goalkeeper Melanie Ramirez recorded her sixth shutout of the season, with a pair of saves.
“That wasn’t the reason we lost, though,” Rattlers head coach Garrett Estrin said. “We were outplayed and they were more physical than us tonight.”
Tuesday’s game was highly anticipated for more than just the league title implications. The Rattlers narrowly won the previous meeting between the two teams, in a 1-0 victory on Jan. 19, and both teams had won each game since.
A win for either team would keep a win streak alive as the postseason nears.
“We were they were going to eventually come to our house and we were going to be able to do our job,” Morales said.
Rancho Mirage (13-7-2, 8-1) is currently No. 2 in the Division 7 poll. The loss may or may not change that before the playoff pairings are released.
Coachella Valley, whose win streak is now at five games, is No. 7 in Division 6, and with a share of a league title the Arabs could potentially get a bump in their bracket after losing in the first round a year ago.
The Arabs switched from the Desert Valley League to De Anza this school year for these kind of opportunities. Though the school has routinely been strong in boys’ and girls’ soccer, the banners had been scarce in recent years.
The drought for the girls’ soccer team was now into its third decade, and Morales made a point of letting his team know about it prior to a game Tuesday that would play a role in ending it.
“I’m very proud of the group,” Morales said. “We have a very young team – two starters who are seniors – so it’s nice to be carrying the momentum and building for the future.”