By Aram Tolegian, SGVN
The remarkable turnaround being orchestrated by the Charter Oak High School girls soccer team continued on Tuesday afternoon.
The Chargers, 3-18-3 last year, remained undefeated this season with a 2-0 win over visiting Los Altos (6-4-2) in a nonleague game. Charter Oak is now 7-0 and giving every impression it will give a much better account of itself in the Sierra League when league action begins next month.
“It’s a big win for us, this was our step-up game,” Charter Oak head coach Kevin Harshberger said. “Los Altos, we’ve never been able to beat them since I’ve been here. They have a solid defense and a fantastic team, so this was a big really win for us.”
One key reason for Charter Oak’s success has been the presence of Emily Castellano, who scored in the 24th minute on Tuesday to give the Chargers their first goal.
Castellano sent a high shot from about 30 yards out that Los Altos goalie Sarah Becerra could only watch go over her head and into the back left corner of the net. Castellano, who will play at Seattle University next year, had not played previously at the high school level but is part of one of the area’s top club teams.
“I moved from Pasadena to Glendora and I came to play soccer because soccer is the one thing I truly love with all my heart,” Castellano said. “I’m very impressed (with this team). We have a good team bond. We work very good together and are like a family.”
The Chargers were right back at it minutes later as Kamryn Gooden finished a small frenzy around the Conquerors’ goal with a point-blank blast for a 2-0 lead in the 30th minute.
“We’ve got a new approach to the game, a new style of play,” Harshberger said. “We’ve got just the right mix of fresh players and players with experience.”
Los Altos mustered only two shots on goal in the first half and double that number in the second half, but legitimate scoring chances were few and far between as Charter Oak flashed the type of defense that will come in handy against Sierra League heavyweights like Ayala, Claremont and St. Lucy’s.
“I think they were a little bit tired,” Harshberger said of Los Altos. “And they’ve got some pretty talented starters who were sitting on the bench, too. But I think that our defense stepped up and played really, really well today.”
Beating Los Altos was yet another quality win for the Chargers, who have already gotten victories over quality foes this season in Bonita, San Dimas and Sierra Vista.
“I’m sure that they’re gaining confidence,” Harshberger said of his players. “I’m just a little bit apprehensive because there’s just some fantastic teams in the Sierra. Any game, anybody can win, and I think we’ll be in the mix to compete with everybody.”