The series of controlled scrimmages known as the Class 3A Sunset League schedule continued Tuesday for the Pahrump Valley High School girls soccer team, which had another game end early because of the mercy rule.
Kaylee Mendoza scored 4 goals and four other players scored one goal apiece as the Trojans crushed Valley 8-0 at Trojan Field. It was the second shutout of the season for the Trojans over the Vikings, who won 5-0 on Sept. 24 in Las Vegas.
Pahrump Valley, which faced Mojave on Thursday night, improved to 12-2-3 overall and 6-0 in the Sunset League, has outscored league foes by a combined 45-2; against anyone not named Western, the margin is 43-1.
But this is the league the Trojans are in, so they have to find some way to make all of these no-contest contests worthwhile.
“In games like this we’re just trying to work on passing, controlling,” said junior Makayla Gent, whose goal with just more than 20 minutes remaining brought on the mercy rule. “A lot of times we’ll get caught playing kickball, just kicking the ball up in the air, so we try and work on controlled passes.”
Most of those controlled passes are on the offensive side of the field, making for bored defenders and goalkeepers. Freshman Madison Lee needed to make just one save to record the shutout against the Vikings, and Pahrump Valley defenders didn’t touch the ball much more often than the goalkeeper.
Freshman Leila Denton is one of those defenders.
“The ball will always be on the other side, and then you get caught off guard,” Denton said, although that didn’t happen against the Vikings.
One of the big things both players mentioned is communication. A weaker opponent allows them to work on almost anything without fear of losing, but anything they are working on requires everyone to be on the same page. And they work hard on that.
“A lot of times we are communicating, ‘Go to the ball, go to the ball,’” Gent said. “That is one of the most important things you can do in a soccer game is go to the ball. Because if you are first to the ball, you have possession, and the team that has possession more wins the games. And so that is something we really stress.
“Something we also really stress when we’re communicating is positive talk and encouragement, never negative, because all that does is bring down a team and we want to uplift our players and have a good, all-around positive attitude on the field.”
So what is being communicated among the defenders?
“Get it wide so you can kick it up to the wings,” Denton said.
After playing Mojave — a team Pahrump Valley squeaked past 12-1 three weeks ago — the Trojans will have their second match against rival Western. It was 2-1 the first time they played, and there is always the expectation the Warriors will give the Trojans a quality battle.
“It’s their passing, and they’re aggressive,” Denton said of what makes Western a tough opponent.
“Like she said, they have really good passes and they’re really aggressive and they control their passes,” Gent said. “We need to control our passes, and we’ve got to be first to the ball every time.”
The Warriors will come to Pahrump for a 5:30 p.m. game on Monday.