Girls’ varsity soccer ties Branson Bulls with a last-minute goal

Avery Aguero

On Monday, Jan. 17, the varsity girls soccer team pulled off a nail-biting 1-1 tie against the Branson Bulls, a long-time Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) rival. Although the Bulls maintained their one-goal lead throughout both halves of the game, the Giants fought a hard battle until the very last minute when senior and center forward Briana Salvetti scored the equalizer goal. 

Celebrating an epic finish, the team and fans jump for joy after senior Sophia Pero passes the ball to Briana Salvetti, scoring the equalizing goal. (Avery Aguero)

Although Redwood was scoreless for the majority of the game, senior Avery Jones believes the team succeeded under pressure because of their possession over the ball.  

“We played ‘our game’ which [involves] more possession and moving the ball, so we were able to break [the Bulls] down that way,” Jones said. 

On what first appeared to be a save by goalie and senior Mia Hamant during the first half, the referee made the official call giving Branson the goal due to Hamant’s body landing over the goal-line. Salvetti believes this moment intensified the team’s push for a goal after the first half. 

“[The Bulls] got a lucky goal in the beginning but we kept our energy up and we put [the ball] in the back of the net to tie [the game] up. At the end of the first half, we knew we were going to put one away,” Salvetti said. 

Huddled on the sidelines during halftime, the Giants strategize their next offensive moves. (Avery Aguero)

In the second half, a player on the Bulls got injured, causing the referees to tack on five more minutes of playing time to the game. This moment prompted the Giants to shift into an offensive mindset to keep the ball on Branson’s side of the field. 

“I think all of our nerves were up when [the Bulls’] player went down, and then we didn’t know how much added time would be allotted. I ended up moving forward so we were playing with two center forwards and only three [defenders] in the back as opposed to four. Our intensity was super high and we were able to channel that into a goal,” Jones said. 

Head coach Ivan Bandov recognized the level of competition that the Giants faced with Branson’s 11-1-1 record. Currently, the Bulls lead MCALs in first place with Redwood directly behind them. 

Dribbling the ball with controlled possession, Avery Jones looks downfield for a teammate to pass to. (Avery Aguero)


“We gave up an unfortunate goal on an error we don’t normally make, but I knew [this game] was going to be tough. It’s games like these ‘one-goal-games,’ where small details make the difference,” Bandov said. “I’m super proud of how we played and how we kept fighting.”

Maintaining a positive outlook on the team’s performance, Jones was satisfied with the results of the game and the hard work that contributed to the final score.

“Even though [the game] wasn’t a win, it felt like a win in our book because we scored, and we were able to make that comeback,” Jones said. 

Carrying their passionate energy into the rest of the season, the girl’s varsity soccer team will face off against Branson again on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 11 a.m at Branson’s Tom Ryan Field.