Jaycee Ogden, right, celebrates with her teammates after scoring one of her four goals during Fresno FC Ladies' 6-0 victory vs. Primero de Mayo on Saturday. [JORDAN WIEBIE, FRESNO FC LADIES]
FRESNO, California — Fresno FC Ladies averaged nearly four goals per match a year ago and and are already on pace to top that mark in 2018.
Fresno claimed a 6-0 victory in their season opener against Primero de Mayo on Saturday, led by four goals from veteran forward Jaycee Ogden, who is entering her fourth season with the club.
Ogden’s first goal came from the penalty spot and, before the day was done, she added to her highlight reel with a chip of the keeper and a rocket from 25 yards out.
“She can strike from any angle and she’s got pace, so she can get in behind as well,” said Fresno head coach Tim Carroll.
For most players, scoring four goals right out of the gate might be a big ask. But starting the season at peak fitness is nothing new for Ogden, a 25-year-old forward and former captain and leading scorer for Fresno State University.
“She’s a fitness trainer professionally, so she stays in shape all year,” said Carroll. “She’s gotten stronger each year. A lot of players that are post-college, every year they take a step back because they’re one more year removed from competing at a high level year-round. She comes in and she’s usually our fittest player and ready to go right away.”
Although only 18 players of Fresno’s 40-woman roster were available for selection on Saturday, a core group of veterans — led by Ogden, Nikki Schrey, and Britney Quiroz — were all on hand. Quiroz contributed an assist and Schrey scored on a strike from outside the box.
Kylie Lucero, a high school junior, joined in among the goal scoring as well, entering the match as a substitution.
“When a young kid scores for the first game ever, it’s a big deal,” said Carroll. “She actually should have had two. She was in clear behind the defense at about 25 yards out. As she got to about the edge of the box, [the defender] clipped her. She probably would have buried the second one. I was bummed out that she didn’t get that second goal.”
But as great scoring six goals in the season opener feels, Carroll isn’t satisfied. And he knows the margins are thin in the Pac North - Bay Area, where Fresno tied with California Storm on points but finished second on goal difference by a margin of just two goals a year ago.
“I thought we played a decent game, but I don’t think the flow the game was real great for us,” Carroll said. “Because if we continue to play the way we played yesterday, it’s not going to be good enough to win the league.”
If the top of the division standings are as tight as they were in 2017, one of the six goals scored on Saturday — or the failure to score a seventh — could decide the winner. But the most important battle of all comes in Fresno’s next match: a May 20 clash with the California Storm.