The Beyer High girls soccer team has made headlines for its gift of goal.
But for the fourth straight game, including two in the playoffs, it’s the defense that has saved the day.
The Patriots shut down East Union in the second half and goalkeeper Ragnhild Eidissen made two great saves in the final 40 minutes to help lift Beyer to a 2-1 victory Friday in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III tournament.
The Patriots (20-1) will face Sierra, a 5-0 winner over Pioneer, on Tuesday in Manteca in the semifinals. Game time is 6 p.m.
“Offense wins games, and defense wins championships,” recited Beyer coach Ryan Leonetti in an often-heard comment.
This season, the Patriots have outscored their opponents 119-14. However, in their final two regular-season games, they beat Pacheco and Johansen 2-0 and 1-0, respectively,.
In the opening round of the playoffs, they were tied with Oakdale 1-1 after regulation, but scored three goals in overtime to put the game away.
Leonetti said those games, especially the one against Oakdale, has helped the team.
“Playing tough teams will help you,” he said. “(Oakdale) set us up for this game.”
With the score tied at 1 in the 64th minute, Leah O’Brien put the game winner away from close range thanks to a solid corner kick from Kayla Duenas for the go-ahead score.
The Patriots’ defense, as it has done all season, did the rest, blanking an East Union team that had scored 92 goals entering Friday’s game.
In the 10th minute, Kelsey Birdsong took a cross from Emma Albino to give Beyer a 1-0 lead before the Lancers scored with about 90 second left in the first half.
In Sierra, the Patriots will face a team that has outscored its foes 134-21 and has a 25-2-2 record.
One of its ties came earlier this month against East Union, Sierra’s last non-victory since mid-December.
We’ll have more scores from Friday’s other games later tonight.