Lady Rattlers pick up first win at Ragin’ Rattler Tournament
Sophomore Izabella Olivo was chatting with her teammates on the sideline of the San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium during the second half of San Marcos’ game with South San Antonio on Friday. Head coach Jason Carnley noticed.
“Olivo, why don’t you talk this much on the field?” he asked the forward.
“I do,” she responded.
The sophomore had just scored her second goal of the 3-1 victory for the Lady Rattlers. It was a big turnaround for San Marcos, as they had lost their first two games of the season the day before, falling to Victoria East, 2-0, and Conroe, 1-0, in the Ragin’ Rattler Tournament.
“We did more of an attacking formation,” Carnley said. “Just wanted to see some different things. I’m kind of scared that I actually like it. I don’t know if I really want to do that again, but I really liked it, it was good.”
Carnley’s strategy was to keep just three defenders back and overload the center of the pitch with midfielders. His hope was that his team would find more ways to connect with the forwards. They did.
With 23 minutes left in the first half, sophomore Isabel Duenez received a throw-in and pushed the ball up to freshman Ana Barragan. Barragan sidestepped her defender to the right and sent a shot from just outside the box. The Lady Bobcat goalkeeper couldn’t reach it in time and the Lady Rattlers scored their first goal of the match.
San Marcos found the net again later in the half. With possession of the ball, senior Mary Finch searched up the field for an open teammate. She finally found Olivo, and led her into space.
“Mary popped it over (my defender),” Olivo said. “And I just saw it and I just took off. I knew I had more speed on her, so I just got more in front of her and kept on going.”
Finch’s pass left Olivo 1-on-1 with the goalie. The sophomore sent the ball towards goal just before the keeper could get to it and gave the hosts their second score of the game with 20 minutes to go in the period.
The Lady Rattlers held firm on defense for most of the second half, with senior goalkeeper Geraldine Rubio coming up with a handful of saves. Olivo scored again after rebounding a deflected shot by senior Alyssa Villanueva, giving San Marcos a 3-0 lead.
The team’s only blunder came with just nine minutes remaining. The Lady Rattlers were called for a handball inside their box while attempting to defend a corner kick. Rubio was unable to block South San’s penalty shot, the Lady Bobcats’ only goal of the game.
“I’m still proud of our defense,” Carnley said. “We’ve given up six goals this season, and every one of them has come off a corner (kick). But that means our defense is shutting down stuff, and that’s a positive.”
The win moves San Marcos to 4-2-2 on the season. The team concluded the tournament on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. against Abilene. How do the players plan to improve?
“I think I just need to communicate better,” Barragan said.
“Yeah, ‘cause we’re quiet,” Olivo said. “Everyone says we need to talk more.”
For now, they’ll let their play do the talking.