Persistence paid off for the second straight game for the Pirates' women's soccer team Saturday afternoon. One game after VC (2-0) connected on a game-winner in the 87th minute, the Pirates scored in the 88th minute for a 1-0 result over Hartnell on the final day of the New Balance Community College Classic. Aleesa Ramirez sliced through the defense for Saturday's difference maker and goalie Aracely Castro had three saves, include a crucial diving stop late for the shutout.
Ventura kept pressure on the Panthers for most of the game, recording 18 shots with 14 on goal. Jasmin Ambriz had a shot sail over the goal in the 18th minute, and Yadi Raigoza grazed the top of the crossbar on a shot a minute later. Ramirez had a steal deep in VC's offensive half in the 37th minute, only to have Hartnell's goalie stop her shot, and a centering pass from Ramirez to a shot by Ambriz was also deflected in the 39th minute. The two teams went into intermission in a scoreless tie.
The Pirates kept up the attack in the second half, beginning with a pair of solid runs in the 63rd minute. Ventura drew fouls for a pair of free kicks near the 80th minute, but they could not find the back of the net. Finally, in the 88th minute, Sammy Zanini took the ball around midfield and sent a perfect pass wide right to Ramirez. The sophomore from Santa Paula split a pair of defenders on the sideline after turning toward the middle, regained possession and slotted a shot inside the near post for the difference in the match.
VC, who sits at 2-0 for the first time since 2014, will next travel to northern California Friday and Sunday Sept. 6 and 8. They begin the road swing at Evergreen Valley College before winding up the trip at Canada College. The Pirates return home on Sept. 10 against Rio Hondo.