For 80 minutes, the Pirate soccer team controlled the play against visiting Santa Monica Tuesday evening at the Sportsplex, but had nothing to show for it. With the match tied at 0-0 and the Pirates one defensive mistake away from a loss, they instead rallied for three late goals to post a solid 3-0 shutout victory over the Corsairs. Melissa Cardenas, Michelle Rios and Janelle Garcia all scored goals for VC (5-4), and Marissa Dominguez had five saves in goal for the shutout win.
Ventura had many opportunities in the first half, but could not cash in for a score. In the 18th minute, Megan Henderson made a nice through pass to Rios, who had her shot deflected by the SMC goalie, and nine minutes later Janelle Garcia had a strong shot from the right side turned back by a diving save. In the 28th minute, Cardenas hit a rocket from a free kick 30 yards out, but it went right to the Corsairs' keeper, and the teams went to halftime in a scoreless tie.
Jennifer Orozco got into the act in the second half when she had a long shot sail wide left from 30 yards away in the 56th minute. Later she had a left-foot special rocket right at the goal keeper as the scoreless tie continued.
Finally, in the 81st minute, Cardenas took a free kick from just above and outside the top right corner of the penalty box. The shot careened past the diving goal keeper into the back of the net to give the Pirates a late 1-0 advantage.
But Ventura was not done. Just a minute later, VC was on the attack again inside the penalty box in traffic when Henderson assisted a shot from Rios from the penalty spot that put the game away.
In the 90th minute, Dominguez had a save to preserve the shutout, and in extra time, Janelle Garcia used some nifty footwork in the box for the icing on the cake and VC's third score of the night, with Josselyne Pereda assisting. In what could have been a disappointing draw, or worse, the Pirates came away with a strong 3-0 victory.
The Pirates have little time to celebrate as they prepare for the next outing on Friday Oct. 7. VC will host Bakersfield on the Sportsplex pitch with a scheduled kickoff at 6:00 pm in VC's final contest before Western State Conference North Division play begins.