Sports

Friday, Feb 22 2013 11:30 PM

Garces girls rise to the top

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Senior Erin Morales and her Garces High teammates celebrate after receiving the section championship plaque following their 4-0 win over Sanger in the Division II Central Section final.

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Garces' Tessa Frasch reacts after scoring her first of two second half goals during the Rams' 4-0 victory over Sanger in the Division II Central Section final at Garces Friday night. She is framed by Sanger's Victoria Ontiveros (13) and Amber Rodriguez.

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Garces High's Tessa Frasch (24) is greeted by teammate Alexis Goyenche after Frasch scored her second of two second half goals during the Rams' 4-0 victory over Sanger in the Division II Central Section final at Garces Friday night.

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    By John Harte / The Californian

    Garces High's two seniors, Cassidy Swift (2) and Erin Morales, celebrate the third goal of the Rams' 4-0 shutout in the Division II Central Section final at Garces Friday night. Morales had two assists.

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BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian

The Garces girls soccer team completed its 180-degree turnaround in grand fashion on Friday night.

After starting the season 0-6, the Rams finished off the year by thrashing Sanger 4-0 in the Central Section Division II championship game at Sam Tobias Field.

Tessa Frasch had two goals and an assist for Garces, which dominated the game from start to finish.

"I felt like we just wanted it, and we got it," Frasch said.

Kate Hamilton made four saves for the Rams, who registered a shutout for the ninth time in their past 12 games.

"It's been a year," Garces coach Myka Peck said. "It's been up and down. Starting off 0-6, 2-8 and then coming back and ... the kids believing that they could do it. I couldn't be more proud tonight."

Hamilton was aided by a strong performance from Garces' three back-line defenders, including senior center-back Cassidy Swift.

The Apaches struggled to get any clean shots off at the Garces net all night.

"We play a flat-back-three, which is really risky, to push our offense up," Swift said. "But we hold them every game. Erin (Morales) and (Alexis) Goyeneche, my two outsides are really strong, and defense wins championships."

The Rams offense was also stellar against the Apaches, though it took awhile it to show on the scoreboard.

Garces led 1-0 at halftime on a goal in the 18th minute by Erica Delgado before Frasch salted the game away with a pair of second-half goals.

"It just felt amazing," Frasch said. "I've never been so pumped my entire life."

Madison Todd found the back of the net one final time for Garces, which out-scored its last 12 opponents 48-4.

Swift said a 2-0 loss to Clovis North in last year's D-II championship game provided motivation for the Rams from the very beginning of this season.

Despite that, it took Garces some time to get headed in the right direction.

"We had the talent all along, but we decided to put our hearts into it," Swift said. "We have a young team, only two seniors, so they finally figured out that you have to play with heart every game."

Garces finished with 12 shots on goal while Sanger had just four.

The Rams came close to scoring several times early in the game before Delgado made it 1-0 with a nice play in front of the net.

She punched in a short rebound shot past Sanger goal keeper Ariel Robles after Frasch served up a long cross that deflected off the near post.

Both of Frasch's goals came off of set pieces.

In the 48th minute, Frasch extended the Rams advantage to 2-0 when she blasted a high shot into the back of the net after Morales hammered a long free kick off that deflected off the top of the crossbar.

Then, 15 minutes later, after another Morales free kick, Frasch scored with a low bouncing shot.

Frasch, who came into the contest having scored three goals in the Rams' previous 22 games, said she never expected to have such a big impact on the championship game.

"It's a great feeling," she said. "It's awesome."

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