Tag Archive | "girls soccer"

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Lady Highlanders struggle to size up LB Wilson in first round

Posted on 22 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

A Wilson defender beats Catalina Norris to a ball in Wilson's offensive third during the first half of the Lady Bruins' 5-0 win in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs, Friday afternoon at Wilson High.

Wilson’s Kirra Bixby beats Catalina Norris to a ball in Wilson’s offensive third during the first half of the Lady Bruins’ 5-0 win in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs, Friday afternoon at Wilson High.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

LONG BEACH – Lined up against a bigger, faster, and stronger opponent, the La Habra girls’ soccer team knew that this matchup against Long Beach Wilson was going to be a tough challenge.

Unfortunately, Wilson asserted its dominance and knocked out the Lady Highlanders with a 5-0 victory in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.

“It wasn’t that they weren’t marked up, it was that the girl was literally just six inches taller than our tallest girl,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach.

Wilson (14-7-3) struck quickly and in bunches, enabling their size and physicality to gradually wear down the Lady Highlanders. The Lady Bruins scored their first goal in the 12th minute on a header from a cross into the box.

“Without being able to climb on top of them we can’t defend a girl who’s so much taller than us,” Sanger said.

Though left back Catalina Norris timed her jump well, she was no match for the taller defender who beat her to the ball and ignited the Wilson attack.

Minutes later, still recovering from the previous goal, Wilson passed a ball into the middle leaving it one-on-one with a defender. The Wilson forward beat her defender and sent a rocket through the net.

The Lady Highlanders (11-10-2) responded after the rough start, fortifying their back line and preventing their opponent from capitalizing on their crossing passes.

During halftime, Sanger looked to inspire his team, reminding them to stay resilient.

“The girls had been able to get themselves up to want to compete and fight back,” Sanger said.

La Habra midfielder Sam Sipes looks for a teammate down field while being chased by Wilson's Lexy Pickup during the second half of Wilson's 5-0 home win, Friday afternoon.

La Habra midfielder Sam Sipes looks for a teammate down field while being chased by Wilson’s Lexy Pickup during the second half of Wilson’s 5-0 home win, Friday afternoon.

However, again close to fifteen minutes into the second half, another goal caught the net, leaving the Lady Highlanders in need of a miracle.

After a tremendous week to close the regular season, senior Brooke Mays was unable to find room to breathe. The forward was blanketed by three defenders while her teammates battled to secure possessions.

Some bright spots lie in the development of many up-and-coming players however.

“We have a lot of freshman and sophomore’s that are going to be coming back that got to play in a first CIF game against a really good team,” Sanger said.

All season, the Lady Highlanders goal keeper Katelyn Phinney pulled off clutch saves to keep her girls inspired. The defensive front has been stabilized by Jessica Garcia and Becca Hernandez who have started every game down the stretch.

Catalina Norris emerged as a starter and a fearless defender. Samiya Washington has proven to be a competitive midfielder who fights for every 50-50 ball possible.

Finally, Darriell Franklin will be able to emerge as one of the most dangerous attackers in the league with her speed and touch.

“Hopeful for the future,” Sanger said, “we have potential to go far in CIF, but its always sad to see a good season end.”

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Lady Highlanders come from behind to earn playoff berth over Sonora

Posted on 14 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra's Brooke Mays dribbles near midfield against Sonora's Amalia Serna during the second half of La Habra's 3-1 win, Friday afternoon at La Habra High.

La Habra’s Brooke Mays dribbles near midfield against Sonora’s Amalia Serna during the second half of La Habra’s 3-1 win, Friday afternoon at La Habra High.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

With playoffs on the line, it was a physical battle between the La Habra Lady Highlanders and the Sonora Lady Raiders. Sonora struck first, but Brooke Mays’ countered with three unanswered goals to catapult her team into the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.

After a competitive first half for both teams, La Habra came out flat and Sonora capitalized, scoring the first goal on a breakaway in the 44th minute by freshman forward Monica Zaring.

“We woke up after they scored on us,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “The girls knew they had a job to do.”

Sure enough, Sanger watched his team respond led by forward Mays who helped ease the nerves for La Habra.

In the 55th minute, Mays scored the equalizer when she smashed the ball into the back left corner of the net, but she was just getting started.

“I knew that we were going to come back and win this, I told the girls, ‘we are still in this game,’” Mays said. Four minutes later she scored again on a nearly identical shot but from the opposite end.

“When we got down, it was kind of like a fire was inside of me, I was like, ‘We are not losing this game,’” Mays said. “Then I got another one, and I was like, ‘might as well get a hat trick.’”

Mays completed the feat off a rebound from her own shot in the 74th minute.

The Lady Highlanders benefitted from a confident back line, led by goalkeeper Katelyn Phinney. Though she gave up the first goal she was able to remain composed.

“I was so nervous,” Phinney said about going down 1-0, “We [had] to step it up, it’s serious now, I don’t think we were taking it as serious in the first half.”

Phinney protected the team’s two-goal lead when she punched a penalty kick away from danger.

“I think stopping a goal is the biggest way to get them riled up,” Phinney said.

Coming off two games earlier in the week, including a game against leading Sunny Hills, the Lady Raiders looked to out-muscle their foe but eventually wore down.

Head coach Alex Bengard made no excuses for his team.

“[We needed to] fight harder,” he said about his team’s effort.

With the loss, the Lady Raiders (9-12-4, 5-6-0) need to hope for a wild card spot in order to advance to the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.

The Lady Highlanders (12-9-2, 6-5-0) await their next opponent, but now have momentum moving forward.

“I was definitely mentally preparing myself for this game,” Mays said. “I was really nervous. I was thinking about it all night, and this is probably the best game we have had this season.”

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Late goal keeps playoff hopes alive for Lady Highlanders

Posted on 12 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra forward Brooke Mays battles past Sonora's Kayla Black during the second half of the Lady Highlanders' 1-0 win at Sonora, Tuesday afternoon.

La Habra forward Brooke Mays battles past Sonora’s Kayla Black during the second half of the Lady Highlanders’ 1-0 win at Sonora, Tuesday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

On the brink of elimination, the La Habra Lady Highlanders kept playoff hopes intact with a last minute goal, defeating city rival Sonora 1-0, Tuesday afternoon at Sonora High.

The win pulls La Habra to within a half-game of Sonora for third place in the Freeway League with one game to go.

Tied through more than 75 minutes of game, La Habra forward Brooke Mays received a through ball with plenty of room to work. At the last moment, Mays put it in the net to give her team a 1-0 lead and the Lady Highlanders retained the city trophy.

“I just kept dribbling and then finally I got close enough and I was like you know I need to shoot it, so I just toed it in there, and I was like, ‘Oh thank God’.” Mays said.

Sonora (8-10-5, 4-4-1) knocked on the door, but Katelyn Phinney and the Highlanders’ defense hung tough before their offense awoke.

With minutes left in the game, Samantha Butler got the ball on a counterattack. With nobody around her, she sent a perfect through ball ahead to Mays, who sprinted past her defender, leaving her alone with the Sonora keeper before she put the finishing touches on the win.

La Habra (10-9-2, 4-5-0) came out aggressively after a scoreless half, but struggled to generate chances. Sonora capitalized on the aggressive attack by the Lady Highlanders, but struggled to find the net.

Sonora missed three shots high of the net between the 49th and 54th minute.

“We got lucky at some points, we definitely had a few things go our way,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “Katie made some big saves to keep us in, then we get the goal to win.”

Unlike many games before, the Lady Highlanders’ work paid off.

Sonora's Liliana Irizabel tries to fend off La Habra's Catalina Norris during the second half of La Habra's 1-0 win, Tuesday afternoon.

Sonora’s Liliana Irizabel tries to fend off La Habra’s Catalina Norris during the second half of La Habra’s 1-0 win, Tuesday afternoon.

“This is the first game that we’ve had to battle and we’ve come out on top,” Sanger said. “We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve battled and worked really hard, but we haven’t gotten the result, and so this is the first where we battled through the entire game.”

With just one more game until playoffs, the Lady Highlanders are sure to come out confidently.

“It’s a huge moral boost because when you put in that much work and you don’t get anything from it, today we actually put it the work and then we got the result,” Sanger said. “I think that this is going to be huge for us going forward.”

With this win, Sanger and his team can breathe a little easier. Going in to the game, the La Habra girls soccer team needed to wipe away some of the disappointments from before.

“There’s a lot of pressure on this game,” Sanger said. “This is a big game, for the cleat, the inter city championship … we’ve kept it the last two years … but we knew that whoever won this game moves on to CIF the other one has to hope for wild card.”

The Lady Highlanders wrap up Freeway League competition against Buena Park at home on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. A win at home, coupled with a Sonora loss to Sunny Hills, clinches a CIF playoff berth for the Lady Highlanders.

Despite the loss, Sonora still clings to the No. 3 spot in the Freeway League heading into Thursday’s finale.

The Lady Raiders’ path won’t be easy with a road game at first-place Sunny Hills. The Lady Raiders could earn their playoff berth with a win, a tie or a La Habra loss to Buena Park.

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Despite strong performance, Lady Heralds fall to Valley Christian

Posted on 08 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

Whittier Christian's Amy Baray battles Valley Christian's Janna Jensen for possession during the first half of Whittier Christian's 1-0 loss, Friday afternoon at home.

Whittier Christian’s Amy Baray battles Valley Christian’s Janna Jensen for possession during the first half of Whittier Christian’s 1-0 loss, Friday afternoon at home.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

It was a strong showing for the Whittier Christian girls’ soccer team Friday afternoon against the Valley Christian Lady Crusaders.

However, against the 2nd ranked team in the league, the Lady Heralds’ defense faltered once and the Lady Crusaders took advantage with a breakaway goal in a 1-0 victory.

Holding the Lady Crusaders scoreless at halftime, the Lady Heralds battled as long as they could before they surrendered their only goal in the 70th minute.

The Lady Heralds turned in an inspired performance led by senior Klarissa Flores who was on top of her game.

“She was on fire today, she was just not letting anything get by her today,” head coach Nicole Nicolaides said.

During the first half, Flores stopped everything in sight including two breakaways in the 25th and 30th minutes.

Flores has been watching film not only studying herself, but also the opponent.

“I try to improve from what I did wrong then, and judge the ball better and come out more,” Flores said, “I told my players to cut off their crosses so they wouldn’t get a head shot, and that’s how we were able to hold them so low.”

Flores knew the team had a chance at getting its first win today when she learned there would be a new player protecting Valley Christians’ goal.

“I heard their key keeper was dropped from the team … so maybe we can get a goal,” Flores said.

Lady Heralds' goalkeeper stands with Head Coach Nicole Nicolaides as she's honored during Senior Day after Whittier Christian's 1-0 loss to Valley Christian, Friday afternoon.

Lady Heralds’ goalkeeper Klarissa Flores stands with Head Coach Nicole Nicolaides as she’s honored during Senior Day after Whittier Christian’s 1-0 loss to Valley Christian, Friday afternoon.

This information, combined with a strong outing last time at Valley Christian (14-6-3, 5-1-0), gave her confidence they could pull out the victory.

Flores took it upon herself to make sure to prevent defensive breakdowns and keep her offense in the game.

“She’s just aggressive, she’s a hard working kid and she wants it, she wanted a win today, and she wanted to shut them out today,” Nicolaides said.

The Lady Heralds (0-16-3, 0-6-1) have implemented a new defensive scheme by dropping their sweeper and moving to a four player defensive line. It was clear their defensive efforts were successful, as they drew the Lady Crusaders offside on a consistent basis.

Nicolaides understood the difficulty ahead of her winless team, but was proud of how competitive her team played.

“I think we frustrated them today,” Nicolaides said.

The Lady Crusaders eventually scored when the Lady Heralds’ defense let a ball slip past their line, leaving Flores alone on a breakaway with Lady Crusader’s forward, Janae Megorden, who finished by slipping the ball under Flores’s outstreched arm into the back of the net.

The Lady Herald’s celebrated their seniors after the game in their final home game for the season. The Lady Heralds visit Edgewood in West Covina on Tuesday before returning to league action at Village Christian, Thursday afternoon.

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Playoff hopes take a hit after Lady Highlanders fall to Troy

Posted on 06 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra's Samiya Washington fights off Troy midfielder Taylor Jones during the first half of La Habra's 3-0 loss to Troy at home, Thursday afternoon.

La Habra’s Samiya Washington fights off Troy midfielder Taylor Jones during the first half of La Habra’s 3-0 loss to Troy at home, Thursday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

For the La Habra girls’ soccer team, hopes of reaching the postseason took a major blow after a 3-0 loss to Troy, Thursday afternoon at La Habra High.

With the loss, the Lady Highlanders will need to beat Sonora on Tuesday next week in order to stay in contention for a birth in the CIF playoffs.

The Lady Highlanders looked stronger and more focused against Troy (14-4-3, 7-1-0) in comparison to their prior 5-0 loss to the Lady Warriors.

Though possession was even, the Lady Warriors capitalized on their counterattacks and overcame a resilient Lady Highlanders squad. The Lady Warriors scored their first two goals before the 30 minute mark on isolation plays from their strikers.

La Habra (9-9-2, 3-5-0) struggled to stop the Lady Warriors’ star players, but played sound fundamental soccer for most of the game.

“It was more isolated incidents that we have to work on and situations we have to fix as opposed to an entire team not showing up to play properly,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “That’s what we faced last time.”

The Lady Highlanders were led by Sam Sipes who took advantage of the wet conditions to dominate the midfield.

“It’s fun, you get to slide a lot,” she said, covered in mud. “I just made sure I put in 110% and (kept) fighting.”

“Sam for me was the player of the game, she was all over the place,” Sanger said. “Defensively she was working her butt off, winning everything in the air. She’s getting down sliding to win balls. Offensively, every time she won the ball she was able to look up and find a striker and create stuff.”

Sipes strong play lasted until she cramped up on the sideline with 10 minutes left.

“What I just saw from Sam was an unbelievable amount of work and she cramped up because of how much work she put into it,” Sanger said.

The Lady Highlanders are fortunate not to lose their top midfielder for significant time, however they did lose Ashley Bello to what could be a serious ankle injury. Bello missed the entire second half with the injury and was not seen on the bench.

With a crucial game against Sonora slated for next Tuesday, the Lady Highlanders will need to dig deep to get revenge on Sonora’s home field.

La Habra welcomed Sara Weiland back, who played her first game since league began, on Tuesday against Sunny Hills, but, in addition to Bello, is already without Darriell Franklin who missed her fourth consecutive game.

The Lady Highlanders will focus their attention on the offensive end to take a lead early.

“It’s not so much a physical tactical thing, it is more of a mental thing,” Sanger said.

The Lady Highlanders have needed to focus on defense against Sunny Hills and Troy, the top teams in the league. Sanger believes his Lady Highlanders are capable of controlling possession and attacking the Lady Raiders.

“They are waiting for the perfect shot to come up, but the perfect shot doesn’t come up,” Sanger said.

With this in mind the Lady Highlanders can expect to increase defensive pressure and be opportunistic.

“The big thing is just focusing on taking opportunities, taking shots when you have it, not waiting for the perfect one, just taking a good one,” Sanger said, “We want to stay in their half as much as possible, then we also need to realize that we can shoot the ball from 25 and 30 yards.”

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Lady Highlanders can’t contain Sunny Hills in second half

Posted on 04 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra goalkeeper Katelyn Phinney dives and protects a ball to thwart a Sunny Hills attack during the second half of the Lady Highlanders' 3-0 loss, Tuesday afternoon at Sunny Hills High.

La Habra goalkeeper Katelyn Phinney dives and protects a ball to thwart a Sunny Hills attack during the second half of the Lady Highlanders’ 3-0 loss, Tuesday afternoon at Sunny Hills High.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

After defending well in the first half, the La Habra girls’ soccer team couldn’t hold down a potent Sunny Hills offense in the second half, falling 3-0 on the road, Tuesday afternoon.

Scoreless at halftime, La Habra looked confident with just 40 minutes to play. However the Lady Lancers offense was just waiting to break out.

Sunny Hills (23-1-2, 7-0-0) has dominated the Freeway League, going undefeated while averaging 4.3 goals per game, but failed to capitalize on its opportunities against a young Lady Highlanders’ defense.

La Habra (9-8-2, 3-4-0) looked prepared to capitalize with odds in its favor.

Goalkeeper Katelyn Phinney was on fire and stopped everything in sight, and Sunny Hills faced the sun in the second half. Unfortunately for the Lady Highlanders, the clouds fell over the sun and so did their hopes of victory, as they surrendered their first of three goals in the 47th minute.

Controlling possession deep into the La Habra territory, Maribell Morales ripped a shot just under Phinney’s arm for the Lady Lancers’ first goal.

Sunny Hills’ constant pressure wore down the Lady Highlanders, which allowed Morales to eventually break through.

La Habra's Catalina Norris slide tackles to prevent a cross during the second half of La Habra's 3-0 loss at Sunny Hills, Tuesday afternoon.

La Habra’s Catalina Norris slide tackles to prevent a cross during the second half of La Habra’s 3-0 loss at Sunny Hills, Tuesday afternoon.

“As we got tired we gave them more space, then Maribel Morales took over,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “The first goal she beat three of our girls, got a clean shot. She took the corner for the second goal, and the third goal again she took three of our defenders and got a clean shot. So it was a combination of us being tired and their best player taking over the game.”

Although the Lady Highlanders took the loss, Sanger was happy with the majority of his girls’ defense. The Lady Highlanders started Freshman Jessica Garcia and Sophomore Rebecca Hernandez. “(They’ve) shown that they’re the best two center backs that we have,” Sanger said. “They are starting to get more time together and they’re starting to get more comfortable together and that’s something we’ve been missing all season.”

Sanger has begun to develop a core of young contributors lead by their first year starting keeper Phinney.

“Katelyn did the best she could, none of the goals were her fault, we kind of left her hung out to dry a few times … she’s becoming a future leader,” Sanger said.

The Lady Highlanders welcome Troy next Thursday where they will look to even a score. The Lady Warriors dropped La Habra 5-0 earlier this season.

“We need to continue to be defensively disciplined,” Sanger said, “But the biggest thing we need to do is we need to be a little bit more free to attack.”

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Lady Highlanders continue climb with road win at Fullerton

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra forward Brooke Mays looks for an open teammate in the offensive third during the first half of La Habra's 3-1 victory at Fullerton, Thursday afternoon.

La Habra forward Brooke Mays looks for an open teammate in the offensive third during the first half of La Habra’s 3-1 victory at Fullerton, Thursday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

Sometimes it takes a little momentum before everything starts clicking. Thursday afternoon in Fullerton, everything began clicking again for the Lady Highlanders, who earned a 3-1 win over the Lady Indians.

If La Habra’s loss to Sonora last Thursday was its wake-up call, then consider the Lady Highlanders’ big win against Buena Park on Tuesday the confidence boost to get everything right against Fullerton.

The Lady Highlanders could have given up when a ball slipped through the legs of keeper Avery Barboza, however Brooke Mays took leadership and kept La Habra in the driver’s seat.

“Brooke is our leader, especially offensively, when she doesn’t play well, we don’t create as much,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “This last week or so, I have been challenging her that she’s got to step up her game … It’s just her realizing her importance, stepping up and playing a good game because we rely on her.”

In the 36th minute, just 4 minutes after Fullerton (6-9-3, 1-4-1) evened the score, La Habra responded, regaining the lead and momentum.

Tied 1-1, Mays received a through ball into the box. With defenders closing in on her, she dribbled the ball deep inside the Lady Indians’ zone holding off two defenders.

She patiently waited for help, before she sent a through ball across the box for Noemi De Santiago who tapped in the goal for the lead.

“The passing for the second goal was great, everyone was open, everyone was moving,” Mays said. “I think we are getting into a rhythm.”

The Lady Highlanders (9-7-2, 3-3-0) stumbled into this week having dropped three straight against Troy, Sunny Hills, and Sonora.

“The girls stopped working hard,” Sanger said. “The culture in our program had become negative, girls were getting down on themselves.”

Sanger picked up his first loss against Sonora since his entry to the program, and was motivated to supercharge his team.

“We had three or four hell days, where they just ran for a few hours,” Sanger said. “What I wanted to see was positivity come out. When they are at their worst moments of running, after two hours of just pure sprinting, I saw teamwork. I saw them start to cheer each other on and get through these things together. We started working as a team and the last two games we played as a team.”

Earlier in the week the Highlanders visited Buena Park and put their season back on track with a 7-1 win, which served as a morale boost and included four goals from Mays.

“Considering I didn’t score against Sunny Hills, Troy, or Sonora I was kind of due, so I thought I’d take advantage of it while I had the chance,” Mays said.

Challenges lie ahead for the Lady Highlanders, who visit Sunny Hills and welcome Troy next week.

“We need to be defensively disciplined,” Sanger said. “We need to pray, because we are missing some of our main players.”

The Highlanders will look to continue to put pressure on their offense but remain committed to defense.

“We’re not just going to sit back, we are going to try and play soccer,” Sanger said. “If we give up a few goals playing good soccer it will happen.”

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Troy’s power too much for Lady Raiders at home

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

In its Freeway League opener, the Sonora girls’ soccer team played a near flawless defensive game against Troy, only allowing a goal within the final minute of the second overtime period in a 1-0 loss.

Unfortunately, the Lady Raiders couldn’t replicate that same performance the second time around, falling to Troy 4-0 in wet and muddy conditions, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High.

The Lady Warriors took control early, putting in two goals in the 11th and 15th minutes as the forwards constantly applied pressure.

“We knew it was going to be a battle and we told the girls that if they didn’t come out with energy, we’d fall behind and that’s what happened,” said Alex Bengard, Sonora head coach. “In the second half, we stepped up our intensity level and the game changed a little bit, but it was too little too late.”

Senior forward Aliyah Jones put in Troy’s first goal in the 11th minute. An attempt by Amalia Serna to clear a corner kick bounced right to Jones, who tapped it in to the near side.

Four minutes later, midfielder Alexis Fuerte put a ball up top for Kaycee Hoover, who lofted a shot over goalkeeper Johanna Hultberg for a 2-0 lead.

Midfielder Caitlin Haugen added a goal for Troy (12-4-3, 5-1-0) just before halftime on a header to the near side off a corner kick.

The Lady Raiders strung together good offensive possessions at times, most of which involved Serna down the right side.

Sonora’s best attempt in the first half sailed out of bounds when Serna tried to cross from the corner.

The Lady Raiders’ fortunes were a little better in the second half. In the 43rd minute, Yesenia Navarro attempted a shot that swung wide off a cross from Serna.

Anna Saucedo then put Sonora’s first shot on goal in the 64th minute, but it was easily hauled in by Troy goalkeeper Hailey McKinley.

Fuerte added Troy’s fourth goal in the 73rd minute when her shot bounced off the cross bar and barely crossed the goal line.

The Lady Raiders (6-9-5, 2-3-1) will attempt to turn things around when they host Fullerton next Tuesday at 3 p.m.

“The game is over and we have to move on, what’s done is done,” Bengard said. “We have Fullerton at home, which is nice. We got a lot of our road games out of the way early, so we’ll get them at home and hopefully we can nick them..”

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Lady Heralds let early lead slip away

Posted on 29 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Whittier Christian's Marriah Gishwiller pushes a header toward the goal during the Lady Heralds' 2-1 loss to Village Christian, Tuesday afternoon at home. Gishwiller scored the Lady Heralds' goal in the first half.

Whittier Christian’s Marriah Gishwiller pushes a header toward the goal during the Lady Heralds’ 2-1 loss to Village Christian, Tuesday afternoon at home. Gishwiller scored the Lady Heralds’ goal in the first half.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

A fast start doesn’t always translate to a win. With two teams fighting for their first win it was no surprise to see an early first goal. However, after the Lady Heralds took a 1-0 lead, they were bullied into a 2-1 loss to Village Christian, Tuesday afternoon at home.

Village Christian (1-8 1-3) disrupted the Lady Heralds’ rhythm and kept the ball away from the middle. Whittier Christian (0-13-3 0-3-1) prefers to possess the ball with quick passes, but struggled to control the tempo.

“We got into a kicking game with them which was rough because we don’t play that game,” said Nicole Nicolaides, Whittier Christian head coach.

A goal by Marriah Gishwiller gave Whittier Christian an early lead in the first half.

Village Christian had its first chance in the 21st minute when Lady Heralds’ goal keeper Klarissa Flores stopped a breakaway by forward Sarah Leggitt. Though Flores came out on top this time, momentum shifted towards the Lady Crusaders.

Minutes later they got an equalizer, and took the lead in the 37th minute when Leggitt avenged her early denial on another breakaway.

“We came in to this game expecting to win, which you should,” Nicolaides said “We scored the first goal, then they became complacent and let down and didn’t work hard.”

The Lady Heralds can expect to see extra time in practice shooting.

“We couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net today and that really hurt us, we had several chances,” Nicolaides said.

Whittier Christian came out of halftime with extra energy but failed to capitalize. The Lady Heralds had two opportunities in front of the net, but struggled to create space and convert.

In the 70th minute the Lady Heralds had their best chance at an equalizer when Village Christian keeper, Cammy Tubon missed a ball in the air. The ball bounced past her but was collected by a defender and then cleared away. The Lady Heralds’ retained possession after the clearance, but the shot banged off the crossbar and was then cleared out of danger.

The Lady Heralds are still in pursuit of their first win and visit Heritage Christian on Friday at 3:15.

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Lady Raiders keep up the pressure, top La Habra

Posted on 23 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Sonora center back Kayla Black connects on a header over La Habra's Jessica Morales during the Lady Raiders' 1-0 win, Thursday afternoon at La Habra High.

Sonora center back Kayla Black connects on a header over La Habra’s Jessica Morales during the Lady Raiders’ 1-0 win, Thursday afternoon at La Habra High.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

An intense match between the La Habra and Sonora girls’ soccer teams left one team soul searching and another in celebration.

After a scoreless first half, a score by Ashley Bordy proved to be the difference as Sonora defeated La Habra 1-0, Thursday afternoon at La Habra High.

Bordy’s goal occurred in the 46th minute when she collected the ball inside the box, and sent it right over keeper Katelyn Phinney’s head right into the net.

Both teams came in with specific gameplans, but Sonora executed well to earn the win.

“The girls could easily lose focus, (but) they kept to the game plan, they tried to play their game,” Sonora head coach Alex Bengard said. “When the time came for them to kick a ball, or do something they needed to do, they did it.”

The Highlanders were plagued by sluggish play and drive which opened the door for the Lady Raiders to seize momentum early.

“Today we were completely outworked, we showed no desire to win, we showed no pride in our team, no pride in our school, there was nothing extra,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “Yeah, we were on the field and we were running around, but there was no reason for it.”

Sonora started strong and dominated possession early.

Before the game the Lady Highlanders wanted to attack and look to create chances. They expected to move the ball with pace and purpose, but instead struggled to string passes together.

Sonora's Kayla Black attempts to thwart an offensive opportunity for La Habra's Brooke Mays with a slide tackle during Sonora's 1-0 win, Thursday afternoon.

Sonora’s Kayla Black attempts to thwart an offensive opportunity for La Habra’s Brooke Mays with a slide tackle during Sonora’s 1-0 win, Thursday afternoon.

Sanger moved Darriell Franklin from defense to the midfield in order to help ignite the offense, however, La Habra failed to execute.

“We moved the ball so slowly that by the time we got her the ball she was already covered by two girls,” Sanger said. “It was really everyone offensively, we had a plan coming in that our girls completely ignored. We wanted to spread the ball out. We wanted to move the ball quickly, and we didn’t do any of it.”

The Lady Raiders defended aggressively stepping to balls and pressuring the Lady Highlanders wherever they were. Sonora suffocated La Habra’s offense with pressure and eventually broke down the defense in counterattacks.

The Lady Raiders’ strikers consistently beat their defenders putting pressure on Lady Highlander’s keeper Katelyn Phinney.

Sonora created two chances leaving Phinney alone to stop the Lady Raiders’ attack. Phinney answered the call early, however was not so fortunate in the second half.

Sonora’s goal allowed the Lady Raiders to shift their focus to defense.

La Habra goalkeeper Katelyn Phinney prepares to defend a shot by Sonora's Lia Oliden during the first half of Sonora's 1-0 victory, Thursday afternoon. Phinney made three big saves during a scoreless first half.

La Habra goalkeeper Katelyn Phinney prepares to defend a shot by Sonora’s Lia Oliden during the first half of Sonora’s 1-0 victory, Thursday afternoon. Phinney made three big saves during a scoreless first half.

“When you play a game like this it’s kind of a chess match,” Bengard said. “Both teams are feeling each other out, and obviously once one team gets a goal … then there’s a complete shift because they’re going to push forward and we’re going to have to counter with solid defending. At that point it’s just who can execute the best.”

The Lady Raiders (6-7-5 ,2-1-1) picked up their second straight win in league, and will look to continue their success at home against Sunny Hills on Tuesday.

With the loss, La Habra fall to 1-3-0 in the Freeway League and 7-7-2 overall, however they have bigger concerns. “I told the girls it’s the most embarrassed and ashamed I have been since I’ve been a part of the La Habra soccer program. It’s an unwillingness to work,” Sanger said.

In addition to losing to their rivals, the Highlanders may have lost a vital part of their team. Darriell Franklin appeared to have injured her ankle after being tackled after a free kick.

Franklin exited the game with 15 minutes to spare and left to get her ankle looked at. Sanger mentioned she has had ankle issues before, and would not be surprised if she missed a few weeks.

The Lady Highlanders will visit Buena Park next Tuesday with the hope to bounce back. The Highlanders however proceed cautiously after their past few games.

“At this point I can’t discount any team in the league, Sonora is typically a team we can discount and we just got our butts kicked,” Sanger said. “We were going to try to put our game plan in place and try to keep the ball on the ground, keeping it moving, but if our attitudes don’t change we won’t be able to beat anyone.”

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