Live Oak sophomore Alondra Villanueva-Aleman maintains possession downfield in a recent game. Photo: Jonathan Natividad

After three rough losses to open the season, Live Oak High School girls soccer regrouped and got rolling. The Acorns were basically in every game, even against powers like Valley Christian and Gilroy. Yet it was a bit of an up and down campaign.

“Overall the season has been a roller coaster,” coach Tony Vasquez said. “It’s been a humbling year, but we never quit.”

The offense converted opportunities into goals most all year. But a boatload of ties prevented a return to the Central Coast Section playoffs for the Acorns. Live Oak closed the season at 3-10-5, with a 1-4-5 mark in the Blossom Valley Athletic League, Stanta Teresa – East Division.

“We’ve been close every game,” Live Oak senior Alexandra Bergholz said. “A little bit of luck this way or that.”

Last year, Live Oak was 6-6-2 overall and 4-3-1 in league play, which qualified them for the CCS Division III playoffs. The Acorns lost their post-season opener 3-2 to Wilcox, the eventual CCS champion.

This season, in the last quintet of games before league play, Live Oak found its rhythm and played some of the team’s best soccer. The Acorns defeated rival Sobrato 3-1, bounced Santa Clara 3-2, lost just 4-2 to powerful Valley Christian, fell 2-1 to a strong Monte Vista Christian side and were defeated 4-3 by Westmont. 

Live Oak tallied 12 goals in those five games. In league play, the offense continued to flourish as they found the back of the net in their first seven contests. But there were too many ties and the Acorns slid into fourth place in league play.

Solid efforts included two 1-1 ties with Christopher, a 1-1 tie with a strong Silver Creek squad and losses to powerful league champ Gilroy by just 3-1 and 2-1. A 3-1 victory over Mt. Pleasant was a highlight.

With the playoffs out of reach, the Acorns fell on a recent chilly Friday night rematch with Mt. Pleasant. The contest was even for 57 minutes and Live Oak clearly had more chances. However, an energized Cardinals team scored with a Giselle Beltran shot, coming out of a scrum of many players. Three minutes later, Melina Leon delivered a superb free kick for another score and the Cardinals triumphed 2-0 on their Senior Night.

“Other than this game, we have been phenomenal,” Bergholz said. “Everyone gives it their all. Everyone plays their heart out.”

Bergholz had many opportunities against Mt. Pleasant, often partnering with the speedy and agile Ava Navarro and Maya Vasquez. Bree Enderle, Adri Cutrignelli and Ashlyn Ingraham contributed up front. Gaby Jimenez, Leila Azar, Isabelle Forstner and Alondra Villanueva-Aleman fortified the back line, with goalkeeper Roxy Weeks making a number of stellar plays.

The Acorns’ roster is sprinkled heavily with underclassmen and that bodes well for the future. Vasquez, Weeks and Jacey Gemo are already making big contributions as freshmen. Sophomores Azar, Ingraham and Villanueva-Aleman are major players.

“It was a hard fought battle,” Ingraham said. “We tried our best but they had a little more energy.”

Live Oak had the energy and the attack most games. As Bergholz noted, nearly every game was very close. Converting a few of those ties into wins will be the goal next year.

Alexandra Bergholz prepares to kick the ball downfield against Gilroy earlier this season. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
Live Oak High goalkeeper Leila Azar prepares to throw in the ball during a recent game against Gilroy High. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
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