CARMEL — Two games into the Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission division season, the Watsonville Wildcatz have firmly planted themselves among the top teams in the division.
Junior Elyanna Magdaleno scored two goals and dished an assist, and sophomore Brianna Guerrero and freshman Nayeli Jimenez each scored once and made an assist in Watsonville’s 5-0 win over host Carmel on Thursday.
“Throughout the whole game I noticed that we really dominated,” Magdaleno said. “We really played together as a team.”
With the win, which came just two days after an impressive 2-0 league victory over Pacific Collegiate School, Watsonville improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in PCAL-Mission action.
The Wildcatz will have two non-league games before the new year — they travel to Soquel on Saturday and welcome in Scotts Valley on Dec. 18 — but will have to wait until Jan. 3 to test their might against another league foe.
They’ll travel to Alvarez at 5:45 p.m. in their return to PCAL-M play.
“Two good wins, it helps build our confidence to know as a team that we’re good enough that we can compete against good teams,” Guerrero said.
Watsonville midfielder Brianna Guerrero breaks down the team’s 5-0 win over Carmel. pic.twitter.com/lEt3b5NOkf— Tony Nunez (@Tony_Nunez) December 14, 2018
Watsonville last season competed against the top teams of the now-defunct Monterey Bay League, but was bumped down to the newly-formed PCAL’s second tier following the offseason reshuffling. Along with P.C.S., Carmel and Alvarez, the Wildcatz, who finished fourth in the MBL-Gabilan last winter, will see North Salinas, Greenfield, King City and Notre Dame-Salinas in the PCAL-M.
Longtime head coach Gladys Mondragon said her group, which was missing a pair of starters on Thursday because of final exams, should be competitive with everyone in the division despite losing last year’s stars, Annalee Robledo, Annah Ramirez and Gabby Felix, to graduation.
“They’re playing together and they’re working as a team,” Mondragon said. “In sports, that goes a long way, to have trust in each other and have trust in the team.”
Watsonville showcased that trust throughout Thursday’s game, as all five scoring opportunities started from short, crisp passes in the center of the field, and its defense, led by junior Jasmine Orendain, quickly erased nearly every Carmel (0-4-1, 0-2) attack.
Guerrero, a small but speedy midfielder, made the smart play more than not, and found Jimenez running down the sideline and Magdaleno sprinting toward the goal to put pressure on the Carmel defense.
Watsonville forward Elyanna Magdaleno talks about the Wildcatz win over Carmel. pic.twitter.com/7JykuYAYqG— Tony Nunez (@Tony_Nunez) December 14, 2018
The Padres' shell cracked 18 minutes in. Jimenez beautifully looped the ball over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net on a scoring run down the home sideline.
Eight minutes later, Jimenez again attacked down the sideline with her speed, and set up a penalty kick, which Guerrero sent into the back of the net to give Watsonville its 2-0 lead at the half.
Magdaleno scored her goals on back-to-back attacks starting in the 47th minute, and junior Andrea Estanquero hustled down the field on a breakaway to convert Magdaleno’s cross into the box for the fifth goal.
“To start the year off like this, it really boosts up our confidence," Magdaleno said. “It shows us that we just need to keep putting in the work.”