Sports

Lady Highlanders fall behind early at Troy

Brooke Mays dribbles near midfield against Troy's Alexis Fuerte during the first half of La Habra's 5-0 loss at Troy, Tuesday afternoon.
Brooke Mays dribbles near midfield against Troy’s Alexis Fuerte during the first half of La Habra’s 5-0 loss at Troy, Tuesday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The La Habra girls’ soccer team looked overwhelmed losing 5-0 against Troy High School, Tuesday in Fullerton.

Troy’s home field advantage became a key factor as the Lady Warriors cruised to the victory. The Lady Highlanders struggled to adjust to the field, surrendering possession numerous times.

Troy has the widest field in the league, compared to a narrower field throughout the rest of the Freeway League.

The Lady Warriors also took advantage of their crowd who overwhelmed leading scorer Brooke Mays as well as some of the other girls the entire first half. Fans are allowed to stack the sidelines bringing them right next to the action.

Troy scored its first goal within the first few possessions of the game. Although La Habra looked to respond, they surrendered another goal minutes later when the defense slipped, letting the forwards attack just outside the box.

It was clear the Lady Highlanders felt helpless as a third goal went against them.

La Habra's Catalina Norris attempts to fend off Troy midfielders Michelle Perez and Alonna Clark during the first half of La Habra's 5-0 loss at Troy, Tuesday afternoon.
La Habra’s Catalina Norris attempts to fend off Troy midfielders Michelle Perez and Alonna Clark during the first half of La Habra’s 5-0 loss at Troy, Tuesday afternoon.

During halftime, Head Coach Matt Sanger looked to inspire his girls, and reminded them that La Habra was notorious for struggling early against Troy. He believed if they could whittle their lead down, they would have a chance.

An early goal in the second have gave Troy a 4-0 lead and crushed the Lady Highlanders hope for a comeback.

Coach Sanger liked what he saw from some of his younger girls who played significant minutes in the loss.

“All three of my freshman played a big role today,” Sanger said.

Jessica Garcia played the entire game at centerback and has started all three games in league, Midfielder Samiya Washington and striker Jessica Morales also played a large amount of the second half.

La Habra's Darriell Franklin works with the ball down the sideline while Troy's Audrey Barrera defends during the first half of La Habra's 5-0 loss at Troy, Tuesday afternoon.
La Habra’s Darriell Franklin works with the ball down the sideline while Troy’s Audrey Barrera defends during the first half of La Habra’s 5-0 loss at Troy, Tuesday afternoon.

Sanger was also pleased with the continued effort and development he has seen from sophomore Catalina Norris.

“She’s getting more time, she is starting now, (plays) very aggressively, steps to everything in front of her, she is still a little bit inexperienced but that’s what all this time is for,” he said.

Norris can expect to see an expanded role as the season unfolds.

“The way she is developing she is going to turn out to be a significant player for us because she is very young,” Sanger said.

The Lady Highlanders will look to rebound on Thursday against city rival, Sonora.

Norris and Garcia will be looked upon to hold up the defense as the Highlanders shift their focus to the offensive end.

“Sonora is known for being very defensive, especially this season, so we are going to have a challenge breaking them down,” Sanger said.

The Lady Highlanders have only scored two goals in their last four games, and only one since league play started.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.