On New Year’s Eve, the Lassen High Grizzly soccer teams decided to host men’s and women’s alumni soccer games to send off the year with some fun.
With winter break still in session for Lassen High as well as many colleges, the turnout of the games was phenomenal.
The day was a true battle between the joys of youth and the wisdom nurtured by experience.
With 28 women making up the two teams for the first game and 35 men in total for the second game, the field was full of fun and nostalgia to accompany the sunny, yet chilly day.
The 11 a.m. game had the varsity Lady Grizzlies facing off against the alumnae who previously donned the Grizzly jerseys.
The women’s game resulted in a 2-2 tie between the varsity squad and the alumnae.
The second alumni goal was made by Portia Martin, Class of 2013, but the first goal was made too swiftly to record the scorer.
Morgan Martin shot the first varsity goal via a penalty kick. Sierra Huskey made the second goal and tied the game.
The Grizzly girls’ coach, Bob Nielsen said, “Several of the freshmen players really stood out with their aggressive play, Gabriela Nielsen in defense and Sierra Huskey as a stopper. Paige Martin played a standout game as center midfielder.
“The varsity squad had a very cohesive game with solid passing and aggressive play.”
Since the game was called with a 2-2 tie, the referee offered a sudden death shootout via penalty kicks.
Bri Mendonca, Brenna Mendonca and Kayla Millar each scored goals for the alumnae side. The Mendonca sisters were members of the Class of 2016. Millar was a member of the Class of 2006.
Morgan Martin and Jenna Monahan made goals for the varsity team, but senior goalkeeper Jordan McCloughan blocked Paige Martin’s shot.
Thus, by sudden death penalty kick shootout, the alumnae team was able to walk away from the field with the gold.
The participating alumnae included Bri Mendonca, Brenna Mendonca, Isabell Tyler, Andi Woodward, Lina Woodward and Serena Valdez from the Class of 2016; Brianna Ahmore from the Class of 2015; Brenna Hunrath from the Class of 2014; Shelby Junette and Portia Martin from the Class of 2013; Miren Zubillaga from the Class of 2011; Serena Bruin and Corrie McFarland from the Class of 2010; and Millar from the Class of 2006.
The alumnae coach was the Lassen Community College assistant soccer coach Thomas Valdez.
Next up was the men’s game at 1 p.m.
With more members to substitute into the game, the men played with a nonstop sense of intensity and thirst for victory.
The field was thawed by the many cleat imprints left from the women’s game, so the men found areas of mud challenging their strict sense of competition. Regardless, the game ended with smiles on both sides and a great end to 2016.
Grizzly varsity player Alberto Lacedelli is recorded to be the first scorer of the game. With another goal shot by an unrecorded team member, the varsity team celebrated their gain of two points.
Matt Shirley made the lone goal for the alumni squad, but it was a killer shot that left the varsity defense mystified.
The game didn’t require a sudden death as the varsity squad had solidified the victory 2-1.
Not all of the alumni participants were recorded, but the ones listed to have participated are Rueben Mahnke from the Class of 1995; Randy Nagle from the Class of 1996; Bob Nielsen from the Class of 1997; Jean Zubillaga, Derrick Noah and Warren Guess from the Class of 2006; Jeremy McFarland from the Class of 2014; and Reg Wemple, Jeff McFarland, current Grizzly soccer coach Matt Shirley, current Grizzly soccer coach Johan Kampfraat, Andy Woltjen, Clayton Williams and Spencer Fredrickson with unrecorded graduation dates.
Additionally, Bob Neilson said, “At least three former LHS coaches attended, including the program’s first coach Matti Ripatti. Rueben Mahnke played, and Dennis Micheals coached the men’s alumni squad.”
The Grizzly soccer teams will be taking on Yreka High School at their next home game on Thursday, Jan. 12. The boys will be playing at 3:15 p.m. and the girls will take the field at 5:15 p.m. The game will be played at Riverside Park in Susanville.