Pioneers | La Habra Journal

Posted on 14 December 2013 by La Habra Journal


by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal


BELLFLOWER – Playing without a few of its key seniors, the La Habra girls soccer team overcame an early deficit to defeat Santa Fe, 4-2 in pool play of the Bellflower Tournament, Saturday afternoon at Bellflower High.

With forwards Brooke Mays, Ashley Bellow and midfielder Samantha Butler, the Lady Highlanders turned to Darriell Franklin, who scored two goals and assisted the other two in the win.

Down 1-0 early, La Habra Head Coach Matt Sanger made a change, putting Franklin at the middle forward position in the 16th minute.

The move paid off immediately as Franklin scored one minute later after receiving a through-ball from Catalina Norris. Franklin scored the only goal of the second half in a breakaway situation in the 64th minute.

“After seeing their backs, I noticed that we had some opportunities,” Sanger said. “Putting Darriell in situations where she can go one-on-one usually provides some goals. We were missing Brooke today, so we needed Darriell to step in and fill those shoes and she did that.”

Two minutes after Franklin’s first goal, forward Noemi De Santiago scored on the backside during a corner set piece. Franklin was awarded with the assist.

Three minutes after the Chiefs tied it in the 31st minute, Franklin tapped a free kick in to midfielder Samantha Sipes, who redirected the ball with one touch to the far side corner to give the Lady Highlanders a 3-2 advantage at halftime.

“We struggled to play together today, we were really disjointed and all over the place,” Sanger said. “That was the ugly result, it wasn’t pretty, but one of our studs steps up and allows us to win, that’s what today was.”

In an earlier game, the Lady Highlanders battled Northwood of Irvine to a 2-2 draw.

Mays and Kayla Delgado netted the two La Habra goals.

The Lady Highlanders continue play in the Bellflower Tournament next weekend, but will travel for a nonleague game at Valencia first next Thursday.


HUNTINGTON BEACH – Shorthanded and dealing with injuries, the La Habra boys’ soccer team appeared outmatched against Artesia in a consolation game of the Huntington Beach All-Turf Tournament, falling 2-0, Saturday night at Huntington Beach High.

The Pioneers executed and controlled the ball for the majority of both halves, meanwhile the Highlanders struggled to connect passes and appeared a step slower throughout.

La Habra finished the inaugural All-Turf Tournament with a 2-2 record.

“We started off slow in the first half and I think that was a continuation from our earlier game [against Cabrillo],” said Earvin Aleman, La Habra co-coach. “I think some fatigue came into play today. It’s pretty hard when we’re missing two guys and others are getting hurt left and right. That’s how soccer is though, you just have to get through it.”

Artesia midfielder Francisco Sierra scored both of the Pioneers’ goals in the first half, one on a shot from 35-yards away and the second off a cross by forward Jesus Gudino.

The Pioneers’ backs shut down Highlander attacks as La Habra’s first shot on goal came in the 44th minute of the 60-minute match.

On the opposite side, some spectacular saves by Richie Ruiz kept the game within reach for the Highlanders.

In the 12th minute, Ruiz got just enough of a free kick to deflect it off the crossbar.

However, Artesia kept control after the rebound, which led to Sierra’s first goal.

After appearing injured while battling for a header, Sierra snuck into an open pocket and fired a shot that found the upper right corner of the goal to give his team a lead in the 13th minute.

Five minutes later, Ruiz dove to his left to tip a shot by Anthony Serrano out of bounds.

Sierra struck again in the 21st minute after a pair of crossing passes, the second of which found Sierra within five yards on the backside for an easy tap-in.

The Highlanders rattled off two firm shots on goal in the second half, but Austin Nazer’s strike was deflected out by a diving Ezekiel Diaz.

In the 47th minute, midfielder Kolby McInally’s shot was caught by Diaz. A minute later, Nazer had a free kick opportunity, but sailed it wide right.

“I told the guys at halftime to go out there and play typical La Habra soccer and leave it on the field,” Aleman said. “I thought they did a good job in the second half.”

La Habra also fell to Long Beach Cabrillo 2-0 earlier in the day.

The Highlanders next game will take place at Orsonio Park, where La Habra will host Montebello, Thursday at 3 p.m.

Habra Sports Journal