Oak Ridge soccer team advances to second round

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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Playoff seeds can be misleading and Oak Ridge girls’ soccer took no chances.

On Tuesday afternoon in El Dorado Hills, the No. 5 seeded Trojans likely hosted their last home match in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. The two bus rides were as comfortable as it would be for the Cougars, as Oak Ridge dished out a 5-0 pounding.

Oak Ridge plays at Enochs in Modesto on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. The
Eagles advanced to the second round with a 6-2 win over Lodi.

Oak Ridge keeper Nina Grimes advanced to the second round with confidence. She made a couple saves, but Kennedy had one shot on goal in the match.

The Trojans asserted their dominance early, stealing the opening kickoff and scoring in the 4th minute on Anna Luppiner’s touch-and-go goal. Marissa Ribiero had the assist.

Oak Ridge entered the break up 1-0, but the Trojans returned to the pitch with four goals in about 15 minutes. Ribiero had two assists, one in each half, while Palmer and Crawford were involved in three of four goals in the second.

“Their defense was pretty pushed back, so we were just looking to lay it off because we knew we had midfielders with strong touches behind us,” said Palmer. Her passing hat-trick began in the 48th minute, assisting Crawford twice.

Three corners in the first 13 minutes of the second half included the first Palmer-Crawford partnership in the 48th. Ribiero’s corner and assist in the 53rd allowed defensive captain Lauren Whited’s header goal and a 3-0 lead.

Megan Graham then benefitted from Palmer’s ability to share, scoring in the 62nd. The next Palmer-Crawford show concluded scoring with Crawford’s 35-yard strike in the 64th.

Oak Ridge put 13 shots on frame in the half, 17 total. Riberio and Carissa Rivers each hit shots off the crossbar during the four-goal stretch.

“I tried to look more for center-mids to lay it off to,” said Palmer.

“We went into the second half calm and combining; getting everything together to put it away,” said Crawford. “Our goal was to get ahead early. It was a little frantic early on, but when we calmed down, that’s what helped us move into the second half.”

The win marks the first the Oak Ridge girls’ advanced to the second round of the playoffs since the 2009-2010 season.