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Midfield play keys Cowboys

Posted: January 9, 2014 9:55 p.m.
Updated: January 9, 2014 9:55 p.m.

Canyon players Sarah Cipperley, left, and Brooke Moore celebrate after Cipperley's goal at Canyon on Thursday.

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The Canyon Cowboys girls soccer team came out with a purpose on Thursday night at Canyon High School.

Behind a dynamic performance from its strong and quick midfielders, the Cowboys beat Lancaster 2-0 in their final tune-up before the Foothill League season.

“We came out of the Excalibur tournament playing extremely well and passing better,” said Canyon head coach Derek Rusk. “When you have the players we do it allows us to play a couple of different ways.”

In the first half, Canyon played however midfielder Kyla Danforth decided it would. The junior controlled the pace of the game and kept Lancaster (6-3-1) off balance with long runs through the middle of the defense.

All game long the Eagles struggled to assert themselves. But they did manage the game’s first legitimate scoring opportunity when Eagles senior Taylor Sclimenti found herself with a wide open net only to knock a cross just high and miss from point blank range.

Shortly after, Canyon (8-4-2) was on the board in the 40th minute after Danforth started a run that ended with a goal by senior captain Sarah Cipperley off of a through ball from junior forward Vanessa Quintero.

At just 4-feet-11 inches, Quintero had a huge presence in Thursday’s match.

“We just couldn’t keep track of No. 92 (Quintero) today,” said Lancaster head coach Rick Acuna. “When you have a player that can run around the field like that it can be hard to deal with.”

After entering halftime up 1-0, Canyon came out even crisper in the second half.

The Cowboys scored their second goal and took a commanding lead when senior forward Mari Kneisel capped a run down the left side with a cross to Quintero.

And just like she has all year, Quintero finished that opportunity, scoring her team-high eighth goal of the season to clinch the 2-0 win with 15 minutes left to go.

Quintero’s success this year has come despite her ongoing rehab process. The junior missed all but three games a season ago with an ACL tear.

“It’s still so hard to trust my knee,” Quintero said. “I’m still on the recovery side of things. It’s been nine months since my injury, and it’s supposed to take a year to heal fully. I expected to be barely getting into the swing of things at this point.”

The Cowboys are on a three-game winning streak heading into their Foothill League season opener next Tuesday at Golden Valley.

In those three games, Canyon has outscored opponents 16-1.



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