Joanna Espinoza scores lone goal for Taft College

Leading scorer Joanna Espinoza took a pass from Amanda Lopez and scored the only goal of the match on a header Friday that gave Taft College a 1-0 victory over visiting El Camino College.

Espinoza, a sophomore co-captain, drilled in her fifth goal of the season in the 84th minute to push the Cougars to 5-1 on the season heading into today’s non-conference match in San Luis Obispo against Cuesta College.

Taft controlled the tempo in the first half and had a solid edge in possession time but neither the Cougars nor Warriors were able to make a serious assault on the goal.

The teams went back-and-forth through much of the second half before the Cougars regained the offensive.

A foul that resulted in a free kick in the middle of the field about 20 yards from the El Camino goal clicked for the Cougars.

The kick drifted to Lopez who sent a clean pass to Espinoza coming in from the left side for the perfect header.  It was Lopez’s third assist of the season.

Cougar goalkeeper Lizette Gomez recorded three saves, giving her 23 on the seasons.

After today’s tussle on the central coast the Cougars will return home Friday to host Rio Hondo College at 1 p.m. on the San Emidio Street field.

With their 5-1 record, the Cougars are setting the pace among Central Valley Conference teams.  Defending champion Fresno City College is 5-1-3, West Hills-Lemoore 2-2-2 and College of the Sequoias 2-5-2.

Despite getting off to the best start in the program’s six-year history, the Cougars have struggled to put the ball in the net.  They had 17 shots on goal against El Camino.

Men host two

Meanwhile, the Cougar men’s team, which has been idle for the past nine days, will host Cerritos College today and West Hills-Lemoore Friday.  Both matches start at 3 p.m. 

The Cougars are 3-3-0.  The West Hills match is the conference opener for both teams.