Live Oak's Emily Lopez unleashes a shot during the team's 3-0 win over Sobrato on Sept. 28. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

Whenever the Live Oak High field hockey team comes to play at Sobrato High, the Acorns know they’re in for a challenge. Sobrato is one of the few schools that play on natural grass and not turf.

As a result, balls tend to take trickier bounces, making passing a greater challenge.

However, Live Oak showed its mettle in a 3-0 Blossom Valley League Mount Hamilton Division victory on Sept. 28. 

“It’s always tough any time we play at Sobrato because of the field situation,” said Jordan Anderson, the Live Oak junior varsity coach who was manning the sideline in place of Sarah Porras. “We’re used to playing on the turf and how smooth everything glides so it definitely puts up a challenge for us. And Sobrato has a couple of really strong players who hit the ball and stop the ball well. But our girls rose to the challenge and I’m super proud of them.”

Alyssa Luna, Ashley Brink and Alexa Villafranca scored goals for the Acorns, who controlled the time of possession and put together nice sequences throughout the contest. Goalie Adrianna Miranda didn’t face a ton of shots, but when she did, was solid once again. 

“She’s a beast,” Anderson said. 

Emily Lopez was a key player in Live Oak controlling the time of possession, while Deja Jimenez and Brink also had phenomenal games, Anderson said. JImenez plays forward and Brink and Lopez are the center midfielders. 

“They go in where you need them, they work super hard and they never want to be subbed for,” Anderson said. “We have a lot of really good players this year and it’s super fun.”

All three Live Oak goals displayed the team’s offensive potential. On the second score, Brink started the short corner with a pass to Lopez at the top of the circle. Lopez immediately unleashed a shot that Brink redirected into the goal, leaving the Sobrato goalie with no chance to stop it. 

Seconds later, the referee blew the halftime whistle. Villafranca scored the final goal of the game on a rebound shot which came on a rapid-fire sequence that saw Live Oak unleash several shots. 

Despite having just one league win on the season, Bulldogs coach Maddie Peterson said she likes the fact the players are improving and still displaying a great attitude. 

“They haven’t gotten frustrated with each other yet which is always good,” she said. “Regardless of the score, I think they’re all enjoying being out there and having a good time because we experienced what life was without field hockey for a little bit and it was kind of weird.”

Kate Mandrel was poised on defense, whether it was deflecting Live Oak passes or gaining possession of the ball. Goalie Bella Niebla made several saves, and center midfielder Lily Finegan was stellar yet again. 

“Kate and Lily work well off each other and move the ball up the field a lot,” Peterson said. “The defense has been working well together and overall we have a cohesive group.”

Peterson has been encouraged by the fact that the junior varsity team is made up of mostly freshmen, which bodes well for the program. 

“It’s exciting for the program knowing there are still people who want to play field hockey,” she said. “We’re still getting girls into the program.”

Anderson said she is most pleased with the improvements the Live Oak players have made since the summer. 

“I’m super stoked about that because it shows what kind of girls they are,” she said. 

Sobrato’s Idalia Lopez runs down the ball in the team’s BVAL match with Live Oak. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

To send in scores or pitch sports story ideas, contact Emanuel Lee at [email protected]

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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


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