If soccer’s critics were to take a look at the Central Section Division IV girls soccer playoff bracket, they would think something was real fishy with one of the teams.
You could imagine their skepticism: How in the world could a sport that is filled with 1-0 or 1-1 decisions have a team that is capable of scoring enough points to win an American football game?
Well, it’s happening, and the team that is leaving opponents flabbergasted on how to keep them from turning a scoreboard into an ever-changing tote board is the Mission Oak Hawks.
How good is Mission Oak’s offensive capability?
Even the NCAA’s athletically-touted Southeastern Conference is taking notice of Mission Oak’s firepower.
The third-seeded Hawks earned a spot in the Division IV semifinals with a 9-2 dismantling of the No. 6 Taft Wildcats Friday at Mission Oak High School.
“Our best defense is our offense,” Mission Oak coach John Pimentel said. “When we’re able to push the other team back with our defensive pressure, it forces the opposing team to do things they normally wouldn’t do offensively. We just want to keep applying the pressure.”
Mission Oak (17-5-1) will be home again in Wednesday’s semifinal round. No. 7 Foothill upset No. 2 Kingsburg. Wednesday’s game is slated for a 6:30 p.m start at Mission Oak.
Mission Oak has scored 19 goals through its first two playoff games, and has scored 26 goals over its last three matches.
You don’t have to wait too long for this bunch to score.
Mission Oak was up 1-0 in the first minute on a goal by junior forward Liz Cui.
Not too impressed?
Mission Oak held a commanding 4-0 lead by the 13th minute.
Want more proof?
It was 8-1 Mission Oak at halftime.
Cui finished with two goals and three assists. Miranda Jimenez, a freshman who recently verbally committed to the Kentucky Wildcats after receiving a full scholarship offer, had two goals and two assists.
Also scoring for Mission Oak were Kobe Henderson, Gabby Marquez, Averee Johnson, Malaine Ribeiro and Zuri Cruz.
“Things are great, and it’s all for the kids,” Pimentel said. “The girls had two goals this year. They wanted to win [the East Yosemite League] and Valley. The EYL got away from us, but Valley is there for them to take it all. I told the girls, ‘I think we’re the best team in Division IV, now we have to prove it.’ If we keep going like this, we should be fine.”