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Canyon girls soccer gets even with Valencia

Posted: February 7, 2014 10:22 p.m.
Updated: February 7, 2014 10:22 p.m.

The Canyon girls soccer team celebrates following its first half goal against Valencia on Friday at Valencia High School.

On Jan. 21, the Canyon Cowboys girls soccer team lost a home contest to Foothill League power and top dog Valencia.

At the time, it was clear that Canyon was talented and determined, even if the Cowboys didn’t get the result they hoped for.

On Friday at Valencia High School, the Cowboys threw all of that out the window and instead showed an unbreakable will, riding strong performances by their defenders and All-league goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy to a 1-0 win over the Vikings.

Canyon (13-5-3 overall, 6-1-1) now sits in a tie with the juggernaut Vikings (17-2-2, 6-1-1) for first place.

The Valencia Vikings girls soccer team has company atop the Foothill League standings.

“We came out wanting to prove a point,” said Canyon defender Sarah Cipperley. “We take it one thing at a time and forget everything else. When we took the field we only cared about playing our game.”
Canyon did play like its usual fast-cutting, aggressive self against the Vikings, but it took some adjusting early on.

Valencia entered its game knowing a win over Canyon would all but make a first-place Foothill League finish and inevitability, and the Vikings played with an appropriate sense of urgency during the game’s opening minutes.

Canyon struggled to clear the ball out of its own territory for the first 10 minutes of action.

After that, the Cowboys played as hard as a signature win requires, beginning with Kendall Bietsch’s goal in the 16th minute to give Canyon the early advantage.

No other goals were scored on Friday, but there probably would have been two or three more had both keepers not played up to the moment, combining for 23 saves.

Valencia keeper Nicole Joseph prevented Canyon’s Vanessa Quintero from putting Canyon up 2-0 when the Viking made a diving save on the forward’s shot.

Two minutes later, Kennedy responded by stifling a penalty kick attempt by Vikings standout Sammy Simon.

The Cowboys went into halftime up 1-0, and never saw their lead compromised.

For both teams, it’s about keeping perspective.

The Vikings are still in first place, and can still win the Foothill League outright if they take care of business against Hart and West Ranch and the Cowboys slip up.

“After the game I asked my girls ‘How many teams would kill to be 17-2-2 right now?’” said Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell. “We’re still in first place. At the end of the day this loss might actually help us.”

Canyon head coach Derek Rusk will let Friday’s magic linger just a little longer.

“I’ll enjoy this win while I can,” Rusk said. “I’ll worry about a potential letdown later.”

Canyon will see Saugus and Hart one more time.


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