SeaLions WIn Two in a Row Over the Weekend
June 4, 2012
The San Diego SeaLions grabbed 6 points this weekend, shutting out the LA Vikings on the road 6-0, and then topping rivals Ajax 5-1 at the home opener in front of a record crowd. The team is now 2-0, and sits at the top of the tables in the WPSL’s Pacific South division.
“This weekend was incredible on so many levels,” said SeaLions’ Head Coach Jen Lalor-Nielsen. “We scored 11 goals in two games. The team is so unique, and is truly the all-around best team the franchise has had to date.”
On Saturday, SeaLions’ midfielder Jessica Wi buried a shot from the top of the 18, putting the SeaLions up 1-0 in the 22nd minute. Six minutes later, Rosie Tantillo sent a through-ball to forward Nikki Petracca who slotted it passed the oncoming Vikings’ keeper for goal number two. In the 34th minute, center midfielder Judy Christopher took a free kick from 35 yards out that found Alana Wohlers in front of the goal, who volleyed it in with the inside of her left foot, making it 3-0 SeaLions. Just before the second half whistle, Shelby Murphy sent a through-ball to forward Britney Bennett who hit it first time across the goal to the far post, putting the SeaLions up 4-0 at the end of the first half.
In the first minute of the second half, Petracca hit a cross on the ground that Brianna Buffington let go through her legs and straight to the feet of Rosie Tantillo who nailed it past the Vikings’ goalie. Minutes later Jessica Wi crossed a ball into the box that was punched away poorly by the Vikings’ goalie. A wide open Rosie Tantillo was able to get her head on it and send it to the back of the net. The SeaLions went home with a 6-0 shutout.
Sunday saw a record crowd at Cathedral Catholic High School as the SeaLions took the field for the 2012 WPSL home opener. U.S. Women’s National team defender, and former SeaLion, Rachel Buehler performed the official coin toss and signed autographs before and during the match.
"Watching them play is very nostalgic for me," Buehler said. "It's really exciting to see that San Diego has a great women's soccer team here and there's interest, and it's growing, and I am really happy about that."
The SeaLions mounted an early attack, keeping Ajax under pressure in their half for 24 straight minutes before forward Nikki Petracca was finally able to chip a ball over the Ajax defense and an onrushing keeper to put the team up 1-0 in the 25th. A yellow card was issued to SeaLions’ center midfielder Rosie Tantillo six minutes later, giving Ajax a free kick. Ajax was able to capitalize on a deflection off of a SeaLions defender that sent the ball over the outstretched hands of keeper Kaycee Gunion to tie the game.
Ten minutes into the second half, SeaLions’ defender Sarah Devine sent a ball into space intended for oncoming midfielder Shelby Murphy, but Tantillo, seeing an opportunity, called Murphy off and hit the ball on frame to convert her first of three goals for the day. Tantillo picked up her second and third goals off of free kicks in the 61st and 70th minutes of the match to earn her first hat trick in a SeaLions jersey. With 15 minutes left in the game, SeaLions Goalie Kaycee Gunion sent the ball over the Ajax defense to forward Britney Bennett, who was able to use her speed to beat the Ajax goalie and seal the 5-1 win for the SeaLions.
“I saw ‘B’ and I know she’s fast,” said Gunion after the game, “and I thought, ‘I hope this one goes.’ So I hit it as hard as I could and it got up behind the defense and she did the rest.”
San Diego hits the road on Saturday, June 9 for a game against second-place team Beach Fútbol Club. They return to Cathedral Catholic the following week for two, back-to-back home games. On Saturday, June 16 they will play the Blues at 7:30PM, followed a rematch against the LA Vikings on Sunday at 2:00PM.