Slow starts have been the downfall of Mariners Women's Soccer the first month of the season. Friday, however was different. Marin took the lead inside three minutes of play and held off a late charge by the Storm to grab a 3-2 victory. It was the first of the year for the Mariners and put them at the top of the Bay Valley Conference after the first round of competition. Steffanie Flores bagged a brace for Marin and Charlotte Sklar made eight saves in goal for the Mariners.
The Mariners broke through early on as Yuliana Velazquez Signor scored in the third minute. Marin's Wendy Fullam took the ball at midfield and booted a long pass towards goal. Signor won a 50/50 ball with the Napa defender to take possession on the right, just beyond the 18-yard box. She launched a sweeping shot from right to left that evaded the keeper and settled to the side netting for a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners advantage lasted roughly ten minutes before Cailin LeTourneau powered through the Marin defense and shot from the left side, on the edge of the 18-yard box. Her shot was almost a mirror image of Signor's. Letourneau shot from left to right, out of Sklar's reach and into the right-side netting to the match at 1-1.
Marin battled back, earning a free kick in the 21st minute. Steffanie Flores took the kick from roughly 30 yards on the left flank. The high twisting shot was not handled cleanly by Napa's Evelyn Avila and rolled into the net for a goal and a 2-1 lead. The score line remained at 2-1 until the halftime whistle. The Mariners were the better side in the first half with eight total shots.
The second half began in Marin's favor as well as Flores took a ball at midfield in the 52nd minute. She dribbled up the middle of Napa's defense before settling for a shot from the right side of the field. She blasted the ball low and level into the net for a 3-1 Marin lead.
Napa stormed back almost immediately as Marina Lopez took aim at the Marin net and was rewarded with a 57th minute goal to bring the visitors back within one at 3-2.
The final third minutes of competition were thrilling, but produced no additional goals. Both teams had excellent chances, and relied savvy defending and goalkeeping to produce a clean sheet during the final third of the match. Sklar was tremendous down the stretch with a pair of full out diving saves to keep Napa from completing the comeback.
It was Marin's first win in six tries, as they showcased their recent improvement. Flores scored her first two goals of the season, while Signor opened her Mariners' account.
Next up is a BVC match at Merritt College on Tuesday, October 1st with kickoff scheduled for 4pm.