Redwood senior captain Ashlee DeMascio couldn't have described her team's game-winning goal any better.
"That was an amazing shot," she said. "It was pure greatness."
Sophomore Megan Tate took a couple dribbles down the sideline, cut to the middle and scored from an almost impossible angle in the 78th minute to lift the Rangers to a 2-1 victory over Lemoore in West Yosemite League girls soccer game Thursday night at the Giant Chevrolet-Cadillac Mineral King Bowl.
With the victory, the defending WYL champions took control of this year's WYL race by improving to 8-1. Lemoore fell to 6-2.
"At halftime, I told the girls you have 80 minutes on the clock. At the end of 80 minutes, you can be in first place or second place, make sure you're first," Redwood coach Jason Vieira said. "They showed a lot of heart at the end."
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by Maddy Messier in the 10th minute. Kyle McClellan crossed the ball into the middle of the penalty area on a corner kick and Messier was in position to knock the ball into the back of the net.
Early on, it appeared as if the Rangers were in complete control of the match by staying on a constant attack.
Lemoore managed to settle down and push right back at Redwood.
In the 49th minute, the Tigers got on the scoreboard when Lisette Brown got behind the Redwood defense for an easy goal.
The two teams battled back and forth until the final minutes of the game, and that is when McClellan set up Tate with a nice pass to set up the game-winner.
"It was one of those games that had you on the edge of your seat," Vieira said. "We both knew what was at stake. Coming off the win over Hanford West, the girls were able to get some rest. They were fresh. We came out firing and looked good, but they were able to neutralize that and play possession style soccer."
Redwood, which has won four out of five WYL titles, knows it still has a lot of work to do. The Rangers close out the season with their three crosstown rivals.
"The girls know what's at stake," Vieira said. "We had a letdown to start the season and since then, they have played inspired soccer. Redwood has a long history of success in soccer. It isn't just playing at Redwood that makes you good, it is the players in the uniform. If you want to continue that success, it has to come from them."
The Rangers opened the WYL season with a 2-1 loss against Hanford. Since then, they have won eight straight league games and nine overall.
"We can't take any team for granted," DeMascio said. "We can't think we got this. We practice hard. We can't get cocky. We have to focus on one game at a time and move forward from there."