Sports

Lady Highlanders win sets up city rivalry showdown for playoff spot

La Habra's Maya Langarica controls the ball while working against a Buena Park midfielder during La Habra's 3-0 win, Thursday afternoon.
La Habra’s Maya Langarica controls the ball while working against a Buena Park midfielder during La Habra’s 3-0 win, Thursday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

Slow to start but finishing strong, the Lady Highlanders are still alive for a guaranteed playoff spot. After learning about a potential play-in game Friday between La Habra and Sonora, the Lady Highlanders handled their business against Buena Park, winning 3-0.

With the win today and Sonora’s 4-0 loss to Sunny Hills, the two city rivals will meet up Friday afternoon at La Habra High to determine which will take the No. 3 spot out of the Freeway League.

“To me it seems a little bit sketchy that all of a sudden now they find out, after we beat Sonora, now something miraculous comes up,” head coach Matt Sanger said after the win.

The scenario was set up after it was determined that Fullerton would forfeit both of its results against Sonora, which turned Sonora’s lone tie into a win. Both teams finished 5-5-0 in league play.

The Lady Highlanders learned the news right before kickoff. The news appeared to impact the Lady Highlanders aggressiveness early.

“We had a lot of wind knocked out of our sails, [because] we have to play Sonora again tomorrow,’” Head coach Matt Sanger said.

The Lady Highlanders started out hesitantly squandering chances with light defending and space, but in the 21st minute they struck for their first goal.

Kayla Delgado scored in the 21st minute on a feed from Brooke Mays. The Lady Highlanders were able to dribble the ball all the way up to the net, before finally creating the open look for Delgado.

La Habra was able to carry a 1-0 lead into halftime and it was smooth sailing from then on. Cortney Gonzalez sent a rocket to the back of the net for the Lady Highlanders to give them a 2-0 lead.

Mays collided with the Buena Park keeper in the air fighting for a ball. On the play, the Buena Park keeper was left on the ground, while the ball that Mays hit rolled into the net.

The Buena Park keeper did not return to the game and was replaced with a substitute.

La Habra rested many of their starters in order to prepare for a game Friday.

“Three games in a week is tough, so whichever team can manage that best should come out focused tomorrow,” Sanger said. “Tomorrow we know that they are going to come out hard, that they are going to come out excited. When we played them on Tuesday, I think we played them at their best. That was the best Sonora game I’ve seen in a couple of years.”

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