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Valencia, Hart shine at tournament

Posted: December 27, 2013 10:53 p.m.
Updated: December 27, 2013 10:53 p.m.

Valencia's Carolina Velez dribbles down field past a Knight High defender on Friday at The Master's College's Reese Field.

The Valencia Vikings girls soccer team was thoroughly frustrated by the Knight High Hawks’ offside trap in the first half of its Hart Soccer Showcase pool play match on Friday at The Master’s College’s Reese Field.

But the Vikings overcame seven first-half offside calls, and when they finally sent a through ball onside to forward Bailey Reid, she didn’t waste any time putting it in the back of the net to spur a 2-0 victory that sent Valencia into Saturday’s semifinal.

“It gets frustrating,” Reid said of the trap. “We had to figure out the style and we finally broke their system.”

It definitely took some time, though.

Missing four players due to injury, including All-CIF Southern Section Division II third-team midfielder Rebecca Harrison until January, and All-Santa Clarita Valley first-teamer Eryn Spencer for the season, the Vikings (8-1-1) were determined to test out an offensive system predicated on sending the ball into the attacking zone and chasing it down with their speedy forwards.

The problem was, every time a Viking would break through the line, the through balls were either well out in front, or the whistle would blow on an offside call.

“When we’re playing a trap you have to have perfect through balls,” said Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell. “We have a lot of team speed so it was just a matter of time.”

That moment came in the 44th minute, when Reid found one of those perfect through balls down the right side and beat Knight’s goalkeeper for the 1-0 lead.

The Knight bench exploded on the play, pleading for another offside call that wouldn’t come.

“Not offside,” Reid said. “They kept calling close ones, but that one was fair.”

The Vikings added another goal with 9:30 remaining as Kaylee Woodard found Ashley Phillips to put the game away.

Prior to the victory over Knight (4-3-1), Valencia defeated Taft of Woodland Hills 2-0 behind goals from Kristen Fowble and Samantha Simon to put the Vikings a win or tie away from the semifinal round.

Now, Valencia will play Centennial on Saturday at Hart High at 12:30 p.m., and with a victory, would face the winner of Hart/Granada Hills in Monday’s championship.

Hart’s girls won two games Friday, outscoring their opponents 15-0 during the tournament’s first day of action.

Hart started with a 7-0 win over Cleveland and then a 8-0 victory over Louisville.

Indian Destinney Duron scored five goals on the day, with a hat trick in the win over Cleveland.

Jenny Chavez had two scores in each game.


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