Lake Tahoe Community College keeper makes spectacular save to preserve tie with defending national champs
Lake Tahoe goalkeeper Claudia Janese saw the shot coming and was ready for it.
The bullet shot from a Cerritos striker was headed for the top right corner of the net. It was destined to be a goal.
But Janese dove and made a sprawling save, deflecting the ball with her outstretched fingers just enough to where it bounced off the crossbar and out of play.
The spectacular save came with about 10 minutes left in the game and it helped the Lake Tahoe Community College Coyotes preserve a 0-0 tie with the visiting defending national champion Cerritos Falcons (1-0-1).
While Janese prepared for the upcoming corner kick, her teammates took turns congratulating her for saving the game.
“It’s all about just watching where the ball is,” Janese said. “If I see a player on the ball, I’ve gotta be ready.”
“I knew to get a result, she was gonna have to come up huge at some point,” said Coyotes third-year head coach Jeremy Evans. “It didn’t have to happen in the first half so I figured it was probably gonna happen in the second and I just hoped she was up for the task. She saved us when we needed her to save us. It’s gotta help our team to know that she can make world class saves.”
After a first half where both teams possessed the ball equally and traded a few long-shot scoring chances, the Coyotes were forced to hang on in the second half as Cerritos turned more aggressive and launched shot after shot at Janese.
Some shots were easy to deal with. Some were not.
“She made a lot of hard saves look easy, but a couple of those shots were certain goals,” Evans said. “For her to come up with those saves should give her a ton of confidence.”
Cerritos head coach Ruben Gonzalez, who’s Falcons ripped Oxnard 11-0 in their season opener and drove to Tahoe the day before, left the field impressed with Janese.
“They did well for themselves, they have good players, they had a good game plan and when you have a good goalkeeper you give yourself a chance to win,” said Gonzalez, who said his team was lacking intensity and came out flat in the first half. “The keeper made some great saves.”
During the first 45 minutes, the Coyotes played even with the Falcons but they lacked strong body language, said Evans. The Coyotes didn’t seem to have a ton of energy and different players throughout the first half pleaded with their teammates, “C’mon girls let’s pick up the energy. Let’s go!”
“We knew they are a great team, they’re the defending national champions for a reason, but I honestly think this was our worst game of the year,” Evans said. “I didn’t expect to get a bunch of shots or have a bunch of possession, but our body language was weird. We looked down for reasons I guess I’ll never know. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls. I don’t think they realized what they just accomplished by basically playing their worst game of the year.”
Evans liked the way his back line, including Megan Masters, Melanie Ara and Madison Boyd — responded to heavy pressure from Cerritos, especially missing three starters with injuries and ineligibility.
The group didn’t let the speedy Falcons get behind them and get easy chances to score.
“I put a couple of players back there that I didn’t expect to start and they came up big,” Evans said. “Central midfield wasn’t a glamorous role today, not a lot of possession, no beautiful play. But we’ve gotta credit Cerritos for their defensive work.”
The Coyotes (2-0-2) played their third game in four days Friday (after press deadlines) at Cosumnes River near Sacramento and will have a week off before hosting Las Positas Friday, Sept. 15.
“I know our team can perform better, I’ve seen it,” Janese said. “But the fact we tied Cerritos, the No. 1 team in the nation, shows we can hang. I’m proud to be playing with this team. It’s a good feeling. We looked slow today but we can build off this game.”