Hat tricks are talked about frequently in football, but they don’t come up that often.
Sophomore Daniela Osejo could have been the envy of the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland” last week. She had two hat tricks in 36 hours for the Panthers in wins over American Canyon and Pittsburg.
Last week’s six goals earned Osejo Times-Herald the athlete of the week award.
“She’s just very consistent and she has a good knowledge of the game,” said Benicia head coach Javier Martinez. “I think her teammates are really looking for her. She’s very quick at making decisions when they give her the ball.
Osejo, 15, has been playing soccer since the age of 4 and has been playing competitively for five years. The past two and a half years have been with the Walnut Creek Surf Soccer Club.
“I think what I love about football is that it brings me joy and it’s a good distraction from school,” she said. “It’s a way of de-stressing and you bond a lot with your teammates. ”
The midfielder / striker started on the varsity squad as a freshman last spring in a season cut short by the pandemic. The Panthers were impressive, going 11-0. Before this season, Osejo knew his teammates better and vice versa. Benicia have won six of their opening nine games in the 2021-22 campaign.
“I think I feel more comfortable and confident,” she said.
Osejo said two of her teammates who have given her the ball a lot are seniors Allysa Ballinger and Olivia Kamm.
On both hat tricks she said, “It was really a big surprise. It’s quite difficult to do and the teams really challenge us. I received a lot of help from my teammates.
Martinez said he noticed Vacaville High scoring Osejo very hard in a game later in the week. Osejo said she was comfortable with the physical nature of college play.
“It’s definitely difficult,” she said. “I’m a bit beaten but I’m quite used to it. I’m just trying to go with the flow.
The non-league part of the calendar is largely over, so when Benicia returns on January 4 the Panthers will look to defend their Diablo Athletic League title.
“As a team I think we’ve been doing pretty well so far,” she said of the season. “I think we can connect with even more passes and create more scoring opportunities.”
Martinez said it was rare for a player on her team to score three goals.
“We like to involve more than one person most of the time, but they have a knack for finding the purpose,” he said.
- Trinity Billingsley (American Canyon Girls Basketball) finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists and eight steals in a win over Benicia.
- Peyton Holcomb (Benicia’s women’s basketball) had 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a win against Petaluma. She added 19 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to Pittsburg and 21 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to Will C. Wood.
- Nick Medeiros (the basketball boys of St. Pat’s) was named MVP of the Casa Grande tournament on Saturday after scoring 24 points in the championship game against Petaluma. He had 24 points in the semifinals against Montgomery and 17 points in the first round against Windsor.
- E’Jay Rogers (Benicia men’s basketball) finished with 25 points, including five 3 points, in a win over American Canyon. Rogers had 11 points in a win over El Cerrito and 10 more in a loss against Oakland.
- Marco Valenzuela (Bethel boys soccer) had shutouts in goal in victories against Hercules and Armijo.
- Jonathan Webster (Bethel Boys Basketball) finished with 35 points in a win over Richmond.