NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Literally and figuratively, it was a game that the Providence High girls' soccer team just couldn't lose.
Saturday morning's Liberty League opponent Oakwood was short-handed, fielding only seven players, presenting a golden opportunity for Providence to pick up some valuable league points and get closer to realizing its playoff aspirations.
The Pioneers took care of business, defeating the Gorillas, 2-0, at the Glendale Sports Complex.
"We needed the points to get into playoffs," Providence Coach Kordo Doski said. "As soon as we got the goals, we tried to make it as enjoyable a game for them."
The two goals came within 11 minutes of each other early in the first half. Lauren Markey put the Pioneers (5-5-2, 4-4-1 in league) on the board with six minutes elapsed.
Then, at the 17-minute mark, Liz Haven scored the insurance goal off a cross from Pateel Margossian, who passed the ball to the front of the net, where Haven put it in with her left foot.
The Pioneers kept Oakwood on its defending third of the field, trying to prevent more goals, and the Gorillas were successful in doing so, despite their numbers disadvantage, thanks to good effort and hustle.
It was Oakwood goalkeeper Rachel Kirk, however, who kept the Gorillas within arm's length. Since Oakwood had a hard time clearing the ball, it was Kirk who had to bail out her teammates with save after save.
"We played well, considering we were down a few players," Oakwood Coach Kelly Ann Chippendale said. "We beat them to the ball and got great efforts from Siena Dixon [and] Hazel Batrezchavez, among others."
The second half continued to be a trying time for the Gorillas defense, but luckily for them, Pioneers strikers missed some opportunities.
Cali Polanco missed an open look early on. Danielle Dominguez then had an open lane to the goal but Kirk stopped the ball before it rolled in to the net. Later on, it was Caitlin Markey's touch to the right post where the keeper added to her save count.
"Apart from the first 20 minutes, we played a bunch of girls who hadn't played all season," Doski said.
Moving forward, Doski predicted the team is going to need some outside help for the Pioneers to make the playoffs.
Four games remain on the schedule, beginning with a rematch with Glendale Adventist Academy. Neither team scored in their previous match on Jan. 27.