After nearly 200 minutes of scoreless soccer between the San Luis Obispo High and Arroyo Grande girls and boys teams Friday night, the fans who flocked to Holt Field in droves seemed destined to leave the stadium without a single goal celebration.
Enter Eagles freshman Hosanna Cassidy and a dazzling display of dribbling and shooting touch that was more than worth the wait.
Cassidy’s weaving run and deft finish in stoppage time broke a scoreless tie and lifted the Arroyo Grande boys team to a 1-0 win over the hometown and PAC 7-leading Tigers.
“He is making a name for himself, isn’t he?” Arroyo Grande coach Brad Bowdey said. “He was able to work his way around and get that one-v-one opportunity, and he made the most of it.”
The rookie corralled the ball 30 yards from goal, staring down three San Luis Obispo defenders between him and keeper Cameron Wright.
One by one, Cassidy dipped and drove past the Tigers before slotting the ball in the short side of the net for his 10th goal of the season.
“The goalie was on the outside, so I wanted to keep it to the other side so he couldn’t get to it,” Cassidy said. “It felt great.”
Arroyo Grande (9-4-2) improved to 4-1 in the PAC 7 with the win, leap-frogging San Luis Obispo (9-2-2, 3-1), which entered the game hoping to already equal last season’s league win total of four.
“That’s not how we saw the game going, but the other team had their chances,” Tigers coach Johnny Costa said. “They were a strong team, but we’re looking forward to playing them again.”
Both teams played stout on defense throughout the game, cutting off passes and using angles to disrupt plays before they could get started.
The goalposts played a role, too, in keeping the Tigers level, as Arroyo Grande’s Joshua Wilkins and Miguel Fregoso both fired glorious scoring chances off the woodwork.
Fregoso’s opportunity came on a penalty kick with just over 15 minutes remaining, when Wilkins was taken down inside the box.
The senior captain’s shot beat Wright, but smacked off the right post and out of the 18-yard box.
San Luis Obispo earned a number of corners and free kicks in Arroyo Grande territory, but couldn’t get the finishing touch required to get on the scoreboard.
Ty Cooper and Travis Caldwell both had shots on target that were saved by Danny Montero.
“They gave us a lot of issues,” Bowdey said. “They like to send the ball over the top quite a bit, and they have tremendous speed.
“Any time you can go into a hostile environment like this … and we squeak out a win in the end, it’s obviously a great feeling.”
San Luis Obispo 0, Arroyo Grande 0, tie
The San Luis Obispo boys weren’t the only league-leading squad to be held scoreless by the Eagles, as the Tigers’ girls team failed to win for the first time in four PAC 7 games.
“We had some opportunities, but we just weren’t all that dangerous in or around the box,” said San Luis Obispo coach Kaleena Andruss, whose team had won four straight. “Little frustrating, but I thought we did a really good job in the second half and in overtime dominating.”
San Luis Obispo (9-1-3) is still undefeated in league, but walked off the pitch knowing 4-0-0 would have sounded a lot better than 3-0-1.
“They had a great defense, but we should have figured a way around it,” senior Sadie Winninghoff said.
Added midfielder Katarina Drake: “The ball would always just hit a leg or take a deflection, and we just weren’t quick enough to react.”
Arroyo Grande remains unbeaten, despite just two wins in five PAC 7 matches.
The Eagles (8-4-4, 2-0-3) won the league last year, but have now gone two straight games without a goal.
“We are really disappointed whenever we tie,” senior co-captain Christina Long said. “But this was a good matchup for us, and we played well.”
However, the defense has not allowed a goal in four straight contests.
“As you can see, we’ve got a pretty strong defense,” Arroyo Grande coach Bob Wilson said. “They don’t let a lot of good chances happen.”