Lady Highlanders no match for Lancers

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal
A day after surprising Troy on the road, the La Habra girls soccer team could not match that energy in a 3-0 loss to Sunny Hills at home, Tuesday afternoon.

The fatigued Lady Highlanders gave up a penalty kick goal and an own goal in the first half and had only a few good chances at scoring throughout.

“We were just physically and emotionally exhausted,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “It’s always tough to come in after an emotional win. Today we never really showed up and going back-to-back against Troy and Sunny Hills is probably the toughest thing to do in this league.”

Mirabell Morales scored the penalty kick goal for Sunny Hills in the 17th minute and tallied an assist on the Lady Lancers’ lone second half goal.

Before the penalty kick, La Habra was called for a handball in the box during a Sunny Hills corner kick.

Ten minutes later, Sunny Hills doubled the lead when a throw in by Bethany Hanson bounced off the head of forward Katelyn Rogers and past La Habra goalkeeper Avery Barboza.

The Lady Highlanders continued to fight, but rarely saw the ball on Sunny Hills’ half of the field in the first half.

Inspired by a halftime talk, La Habra came out with more energy to start the second half.

The Lady Highlanders spent the first 10 minutes of the half pressuring the Sunny Hills defense.

Brooke Mays tried to lead Rogers early on, but the forward was flagged offside.

Shortly after, Rogers sent a shot between two defenders, but it sailed over the crossbar.

Those two opportunities would prove to be the Lady Highlanders best chances at scoring, as Sunny Hills went back to putting the pressure for the remainder of the half.

In the 55th minute, Morales stole the ball from Teyana Franklin, dribbled down the middle and dumped a pass to Sarah Fajnor on the right.

Fajnor bumped a short-range shot past Barboza, leading to the game’s final score.

“They hadn’t lost the will to fight, but when you start the game with a call in the box and an own goal, it’s tough to fight back from,” Sanger said. “They did well to keep their heads up, any time you get your head down against a team like Sunny Hills, it could easily turn into five or six goals.”

La Habra defeated Troy 3-1 on the road, Monday, a game that was postponed from last Thursday due to weather.

Down 1-0 at half, the Lady Highlanders fought their way back with three second half goals.

The Lady Highlanders will host Fullerton, Friday at 3pm La Habra High.

“We just want to forget about this one quickly and move on, we won yesterday, so I wasn’t as concerned about the result today,” Sanger said. “Our ultimate goal is to make CIF again and the win over Troy really helped us with that.”

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