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Blue Heat win home finale 4-3 over Colorado Rush

Posted: July 9, 2013 9:02 p.m.
Updated: July 9, 2013 9:02 p.m.

Colorado Rush goalkeeper Elixabete Sarasola, bottom, defends a shot on goal by Santa Clarita Blue Heat player Diane Hare on Tuesday at The Master's College.

It was a nail-biter from kickoff to final whistle, but in the end, the Santa Clarita Blue Heat were able to knock off the Colorado Rush 4-3 in their final home game of the season.

The Rush (0-8-3) have yet to pick up a win in United Soccer League W-League play this season, but a very young squad that features players on the Under-17 national team was not going to make it easy for the Blue Heat.

The final goal of the back-and-forth game came in the 81st minute after the Blue Heat worked the ball down the field for a corner kick. Santa Clarita forward Stacey Rodwell laid the kick perfectly into the box and defender Tara Corcoran headed the ball past the keeper for her third goal of the season.

“It’s such a good feeling, especially as a defender when you don’t get as many opportunities as the forwards to score goals,” Corcoran said of her game-winning shot.

Rodwell got the scoring started for Santa Clarita (4-6-1) with a rocket from outside the 18-yard box in the 20th minute, but the Rush came back with two goals off a penalty kick in the 40th minute and a 30-yard bomb by Danica Evans in the 45th, to take a 2-1 lead going into halftime.

Santa Clarita seemed to come out of halftime with a new sense of urgency and controlled possession for the early portion of the half. In the 60th minute, forward Natalia Gomez-Junco worked her way in to the box before she was clipped by a Rush defender. She coolly sank the penalty kick, tying up the contest at 2-2.

Continuing with the momentum swings that had come to dictate the game, Evans scored again for the Rush just nine minutes later, giving the squad a 3-2 lead.

In the 74th minute, the Blue Heat’s Ana Borges, who plays for the Portuguese national team, picked up a ball that seemed to be rolling out of play and ripped a shot from a nearly impossible angle from left side of the box. Somehow, the shot ended up in the back of the net to tie the score.

That goal set up Corcoran’s game-winner.

The Rush attempted to make a push to knot up the score, but could not mount a final attack against a stingy Santa Clarita defense.

“We had loads of chances and we let them back in the game, but we held on in the end,” Rodwell said.

The Blue Heat play their final game of the season against the Western Conference first-place Pali Blues on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Palisades Charter High School.


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