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Why Beyer girls soccer team has reason to smile after tough playoff loss to Sierra

Beyer girls have reason to hold heads high after playoff loss to Sierra

The Beyer High girls soccer team fell 3-0 to Sierra in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinal on Tuesday in Manteca. Freshman forward Leah O'Brien and coach Ryan Leonetti put the defeat in perspective after the game.
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The Beyer High girls soccer team fell 3-0 to Sierra in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinal on Tuesday in Manteca. Freshman forward Leah O'Brien and coach Ryan Leonetti put the defeat in perspective after the game.

It didn’t take long for Beyer freshman forward Leah O’Brien to set aside Tuesday’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section semifinal loss to Sierra.

“It’s a rough way to end the season, but we’re coming out with our heads held high and ready for next season,” she said. “We’ve got some young freshmen and we’re hungry. See you next year!”

Her words came minutes after the No. 1-seeded Timberwolves (26-2-2) scored three goals in the second half to end the Patriots’ season at 20-2.

“We knew it was going to be a really tough battle,” O’Brien said. “We did really well the first 40 (minutes), holding them and getting opportunities. In the second half, they really came out strong, scoring in the first 10 (minutes), really holding us back in our half.”

After a scoreless first half that saw both teams with a couple of chances, Sierra went up 1-0 in the 47th minute when Yasmin Ballew scored from the right side on a difficult angle from about 20 yards out, sneaking it past the Patriots’ talented goalie, Ragnhild Eidissen.

Minutes before, Eidissen made a brilliant play to keep the game scoreless, reaching far to her left to knock a shot away.

“They have some really great talented players that we did a really great job shutting down in that first 40.,” she said. “We couldn’t keep that stamina up. ... They know how to put it in the back of the net.”

Sierra, which seemed a step ahead of the young Beyer team for most of the match, went ahead 2-0 in the 70th minute when University of California-bound Jadyn Shinn stole a pass at midfield and controlled it all the way downfield for the score. About 14 minutes later, Nikki Martin cemented the victory with a solid strike from the right side, about 18 yards out.

O’Brien said one thing the Patriots could work on next season is their anticipation of the ball, something the Timberwolves showed on the cold night in Manteca.

“Speed could have been a factor.” O’Brien said. “I think we have some pretty fast players and we just need to utilize it like Sierra. They’re a great team to look up to and chase after these next few years.”

Indeed. Both teams are loaded with young talent. Beyer, coming off a 5-11-5 season, is looking to build on this year’s success.

“We have phenomenal top-notch players,” said Beyer coach Ryan Leonetti, whose team outscored opponents 119-20. “We’re a young team right now, so we’re still building up muscle strength. All around, we have a defense, we have an offense and we have an all-around great team.

“We’re going to be a forced to be reckoned with the next few years.”

Editor Brian Clark has worked at The Modesto Bee since 1990. He’s worked in various departments, including sports, news and on the digital side for a decade before being promoted to editor in 2018. He’s a native of Berkeley and a graduate of San Diego State University. Prior to The Bee, Brian worked at the Turlock Journal and Las Vegas Review-Journal.
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