In the time it takes to walk from one end of the Citrus College campus to the other, Owl midfielder Julia Wills had put the game against the Victor Valley Rams to bed.
Wills scored two goals in the first 14 minutes for the Owls (3-0-2) to put the Rams (0-6-3) in a two-goal hole that only seemed to grow deeper, as the head referee called the game off in the 75th minute to award Citrus a 6-1 victory.
“We were able to move the ball and keep possession quite a bit, so Victor Valley had to really work hard,” said Owls assistant head coach Brian Dorman. “Physically, the conditions were kind of tough.”
The combination of triple-digit temperatures, an overmatched squad, and a slew of injuries surely factored in the decision to call the game. Sources said that Rams head coach Michael Bradbury requested the stoppage in the second half.
Rams starting goalkeeper Aly Olsen had to come out after suffering an apparent arm injury while making a save on a Jasmine Williams penalty in the 23rd minute. To add insult to (literal) injury, Olsen’s defenders were rooted to the spot on the rebound, allowing Owl midfielder Gabby Virgen to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Owls would maintain that lead going into the half since the Rams were unable to muster a single shot on goal by the 45-minute-mark. Their lone shot (and goal) of the game came when Rams midfielder Brianna Johanson scored off a rebound two minutes into the second half.
By that point, starting goalkeeper Alyssa Lozano had been pulled in favor of backup freshman Leslie Grande. Lozano began warming up after the goal, but wasn’t needed as goals from Leandra Escobar and Sheyla Sanchez made the lead 5-1 in the 68th minute.
The straw that broke the Rams’ back came less than five minutes later, when a corner kick taken by Owl defender Jade Vehawn was neatly headed into the Rams’ goal by none other than Johanson herself, prompting Bradbury to throw in the towel.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing in the victory. Owl leading scorer Jasmine Williams had a handful of golden opportunities to score in this one, but was unable to find her finishing touch even though she consistently got in behind the Rams’ defense.
“If I had an answer [for the misses],” Williams said, “I would’ve fixed it. But I’m glad my players followed through and finished the plays.”
The Owls play the Oxnard Condors Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. in Oxnard.