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So close for ’Cats and Cowboys

Posted: February 21, 2014 10:51 p.m.
Updated: February 21, 2014 10:51 p.m.

The Canyon Cowboys girls soccer team will think about this one for a while.

Leading by a goal with seven minutes remaining in its CIF-Southern Section Division II first-round playoff match at Newbury Park, the Cowboys allowed two goals down the stretch in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss on Friday afternoon.

Mari Kneisel put Canyon (13-7-4 overall) ahead in the 18th minute, marking back-to-back years in which Kneisel scored Canyon’s lone goal in a first-round contest.

Unlike Canyon’s 1-0 victory over Palos Verdes Peninsula in 2013, though, Kneisel’s goal wasn’t enough this time around.

First, it was Sabrina Lopez’s game-tying goal in the 77th minute to pull things even. And just minutes later it was Alex Albaeck handing Newbury Park (15-4-2) the victory.

“It was brutal,” said Canyon head coach Derek Rusk. “I told the girls I’m extremely proud of the way they played the entire season. We were either competitive in every game, or winning every game, and it’s tough when the movie doesn’t end the way you want it to. You walk away with a hole in your heart.”

Despite the loss, Canyon concludes its second season under Rusk with back-to-back playoff appearances, and nearly won a Foothill League title before settling for third on the season’s final day.

“I think that we’re just setting a precedent for the girls coming up, showing them that this is what Canyon soccer is about,” Rusk said. “And as the years progress, the younger girls will fill big shoes.”

Chino Hills 2, West Ranch 1 (4-2 PKs)

West Ranch knew it was in for a battle when it traveled to Serra League champion and CIF-SS Division II second-seed Chino Hills on Friday night.

But the Wildcats (11-10-4 overall) didn’t back down, pushing Chino Hills (25-2-0) to the brink before falling in penalty kicks, 4-2.

“I think you have to be (happy) when you take that caliber of a team, we were such big underdogs going into it, I didn’t talk to anyone who thought we stood a chance,” said West Ranch head coach Jared White. “It was try to keep it close or good luck, don’t get run out of the building. Especially when you’re down 1-0, but you come back to tie it, hold them in OT and take it to PKs.”

Chino Hills broke a 0-0 halftime score on a goal with 12 minutes remaining in regulation, but Sydney Caracciolo was able to equalize on a goal from inside the 18-yard box.

“We played really well and not just the defenders. The midfielders closed things down quickly, the forwards high pressed their back line,” White said. “Total team effort on the defensive side of the ball. Stayed organized and kept communicating. It was crazy and hectic and a long 100 minutes, To keep that team to one goal for 100 minutes, I’d be shocked if you showed me another team that could do that.”


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