The Ventura College women's soccer team is on a roll. Behind great defense by Sammy Zanini, Natalie Lansberg and Aracely Castro, the Pirates posted their fifth shutout in six games in a 1-0 victory over Cerritos College at the Sportsplex Monday night. Jacky Espinosa nailed a 30-yard free kick into the net in the 58th minute for the game-winner and Castro had seven saves in goal in the win, VC's first in the past seven games against the Falcons dating back over a decade.
The first half was scoreless, but was not short on solid play by both teams. An aggressive first 20-plus minutes yielded few scoring opportunities, but as the game progressed, both teams generated chances. Aleesa Ramirez exhibited solid one-on-one defense in the 24th minute to turn back a Cerritos threat, and Castro produced an aggressive save four minutes later. In the 38th minute, Espinosa had a steal around midfield and sent a pass into the offensive end before the Pirates (4-0-2) were unlucky on a number of scoring chances.
An aggressive game got more physical early in the second half. In the 56th minute of play, Castro was assessed a yellow card for a strong attack on the ball just outside the penalty box. Cerritos (2-2) was unable to cash in on the short free kick, and the Pirates used the momentum on the offensive side of the field. VC earned a free kick of their own two minutes later, and Espinosa took the 30-yarder and placed in perfectly in the top far corner of the net for the game-winning score.
On a pair of occasions, Zanini had kick saves in the goal, including one in the 70th minute. Cerritos kept the attack up at a frenetic pace, and the Ventura defense rose t the occasion each time. In the 80th minute, the Falcons had a corner kick sail across the front of the goal untouched before crossing the end line for a goal kick, and two minutes, Stephany Ramirez and Castro turned back a Cerritos breakaway chance. Another Falcon shot sailed over the goal in the 88th minute and the Pirates held on for the 1-0 victory.
Offensively, the Pirates took 10 shots in the game with six on goal. Castro recorded seven saves defensively.
Ventura remains unbeaten on the season, the longest such streak to begin the season in at least 10 years. The Pirate defense has been outstanding, yielding two scores in their six games, putting them at eighth in the state in goals against average.
VC next travels to Santa Monica on Friday Sept. 20 for a 3:00 pm match up with the Corsairs.