Girls soccer: Centaurus and Erie battle to tie in season opener

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Erie's Elise Capra and Centaurus' Olivia Fase battle for the ball in the first half at Erie High School Thursday night. Go to for more photos.

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Centaurus' Faith Brendefur and Erie's Adlee Schenbeck go after the ball in the first half at Erie High School Thursday night. Go to for more photos.

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Erie's Elise Capra kicks the ball away from Centaurus' Olivia Fase in the first half at Erie High School Thursday night. Go to for more photos.



ERIE — It’s hard to be critical as a coach in the first game of the season.

Especially in soccer, when teams are still building their roster, learning new systems and doing so in a little over a week’s worth of really good practice.

But if the first contest of the season between Centaurus and Erie is any indication of what kind of success both team are going to have, then neither side should have much to worry about.

On Thursday night at Tiger Stadium, the Warriors and Tigers played to a 1-1 stalemate in the season opener, but it was the Tigers who will look back at the what-if’s.

“We hardly get any time to work before the start of the season and you just try to put as much together as you can,” Erie coach Jeff Vigil said. “You try to play to your strengths and a lot of it is the girls natural ability trying to take over.”

And it was Erie — who many around the region have tabbed as a darkhorse contender in the Tri-Valley League — that struck first and fast.

Alison McNeal’s run to the corner and subsequent cross into the crowded 18-yard box was flicked on by Alicia Cardenas and then finished by sophomore Rylee MacLennan past Warriors starting keeper Roxana Vranian.

Erie has several chances to add to their lead in the first half, but a Cardenas shot banged off the woodwork and wide, then McNeal had a chance saved.

It was the first miss of a tough night for McNeal, who may very well burn the tape from this one. She stood on the dot for a penalty kick in the 29th minute, but fired high to keep it a 1-0 lead.

“It’s unlucky. We did create a lot of chances and we just have to hang our hat on that,” said Vigil, who watched McNeal slide another golden opportunity by in the second overtime.

Centaurus’ best chance in the first 40 minutes came of the right foot of Faith Brandefur, from distance, but was deflected over the bar.

Still the Warriors played a smart game — especially defensively — and were able to equalize in the 60th minute when senior captain Laura Leibfried bagged her first goal of the season.

“Today was able about learning to communicate and work together as a team, because we have a lot of new players on our team that we are incorporating into a new system,” said Leibfried, who admitted she didn’t see her goal go in. “(Being down a goal) was good for us, because it put us in that position that we were tested right away.”

Centaurus’ second half keeper Faith West-Renney was brilliant in her 60 minutes of work and made the save of the game early in the second overtime when she dove to her left to send Cardenas’ 30-yard direct free kick that was perfectly placed inside the near post, just wide.

Jon Yunt: or


At Erie

Centaurus (0-0-1)0100—1

Erie (0-0-1)1000—1

Goals (assists) — Erie: Rylee MacLennan (Alicia Cardenas), 6th minute; Centaurus: Laura Leibfried (unassisted), 60th.

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Centaurus: Roxana Vranian (40-1-2), Faith West-Renney (60-0-5); Erie: Zoey Hatch (100-1-6).