Gemperle paces efficient Hilmar soccer team

slynch@mercedsunstar.comMay 13, 2013 

— The knock on soccer has always been offense, or the lack there of.

It's not a sport where the number of shots a team takes often correlates to the number of times it finds the back of the net.

Precision always takes precedent over quantity in the beautiful game, with coaches pleased if their team can score every five or six attempts.

The Hilmar girls did a little better than that on Thursday afternoon.

Throwing conventional wisdom to the wind, the Yellowjackets struck five times in their first nine shots. Oliviah Gemperle was at the heart of that efficiency, netting a hat trick to lead Hilmar to a 5-2 victory over Calaveras in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 playoffs.

The Yellowjackets will travel to top-seeded Liberty Ranch for the semifinals next Wednesday after its 9-0 throttling of Venture Academy.

"We were really on our game today," said Gemperle, who scored her first hat trick of the season. "They came out really aggressive in the first 10 minutes of the game.

"I think that first goal really calmed us down. Then we got the second one right after that and we were pretty much in control from that point on."

Hilmar (16-4-2) struck first in the 10th minute thanks to a bit of individual magic from Gemperle.

Kinsey Pettigrew flicked a harmless looking ball into the middle of the field that Gemperle was the first to react to.

Her first touch split the Calaveras defense and then she chipped the bouncing ball around the Redskins' sweeper. Gemperle won the foot race back onto the ball and fired a shot off of the far post and into the back of the net.

Before Calaveras (14-8-3) could catch its breath, Hilmar struck again.

The Pettigrew-Gemperle combo hooked up a second time, with Gemperle drilling a one-time strike into the near post just two minutes later.

Jaimee Rocha all but finished the Redskins off in the 28th minute, threading a perfect pass right through the Calaveras defense and into the sprinting path of Pettigrew.

The sophomore blasted a shot off of the post and keeper to give Hilmar a very comfortable 3-0 lead at intermission.

"I think that third goal really deflated them," Hilmar coach Louie Bettencourt said. "They were a physical team with some speed that was really getting after us.

"After that goal the energy level was never quite the same."

Hilmar didn't sit on its lead.

Gemperle completed her hat trick just nine minutes into the second half.

Rocha fed another perfectly weighted pass into the right corner of the Redskins' 18-yard box. Gemperle tracked it down and then unloaded on a ball into the far-post side netting.

Bernadette Silveira put the game out of reach seven minutes later, controlling and then burying a Pettigrew cross to make it 5-0 Yellowjackets.

Both teams emptied their benches and the Calaveras subs got a couple consolation goals in the last 10 minutes.

Lisa Valtierra and Brittany Kohler finally bested Hilmar goalkeeper Rebecca Sanders, but the sophomore still finished with seven saves in the win.

"I told the girls at the beginning of the game we couldn't keep giving them so much free space," Bettencourt said. "As soon as we got up and started marking them, it was a very different game.

"I'm very pleased with this effort. Hopefully we can have a similar performance next week."

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