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SCCS soccer's lethal weapons

SCCS fueled by duo of Desirae Dodson and Lauren Gallagher

Posted: March 2, 2014 10:38 p.m.
Updated: March 2, 2014 10:38 p.m.

Santa Clarita Christian senior defender Desirae Dodson leads an SCCS defense that has allowed just six goals all season. Shawn Gale/Courtesy photo

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It’s a perfect contrast.

Santa Clarita Christian soccer players Lauren Gallagher and Desirae Dodson are, in many ways, opposites.

But in many other ways, those two are the reasons why SCCS is undefeated and putting together a historic season.

Late on Saturday night (the game ended just before 11 p.m.) at College of the Canyons, the SCCS Cardinals completed a 4-0 win over Tarbut V’Torah in the CIF-Southern Section Division VII quarterfinals.

The victory puts the SCCS (18-0-4) in its first CIF semifinal game in school history on Tuesday against Gabrielino. That game will also take place at COC.

The Cardinals have gotten to this point with a unique combination of skill, experience and phenomenal play on both sides of the ball.

Gallagher, the bold, loud, aggressive junior, leads the charge on offense. And Dodson, the calm, technical reliable senior takes care of things on defense.

“That contrast and that style and those two kids, that’s what’s been a big part of our success this year,” says SCCS head coach Matt Gale.

With the duo guiding the way, the Cardinals have put up staggering numbers this year.

In 22 games, SCCS has allowed six total goals and posted 18 shutouts. The offense has combined to score 140 goals for an average of more than six per game.

With 46 goals this season, the 16-year-old Gallagher ranks third in the state, according to Maxpreps.com. She scored 11 goals as a freshman and 21 as a sophomore on her way to earning All-CIF honors.

And her first instinct when asked about her incredible accomplishments is to talk about how her teammates Tiffany Shroyer, Maya Rauch and Chloe Edwards feed her the ball from the midfield.

“They do all the dirty work and I really get the easy part in finishing it off,” Gallagher says. “It’s not just myself. It’s the hard work of others surrounding me.”

Gallagher’s success comes from her fierce competitiveness, which manifests itself on the soccer field.

Her coach calls her bold and tenacious. She calls herself loud and borderline obnoxious.

“When you watch soccer on TV and stuff, that’s what you need to have out of a striker to be successful,” Gale says.

Gallagher’s personality is an inverse of Dodson’s. But even with the 17-year-old Dodson’s style being more introverted and low-key, the senior sweeper commands a great deal of respect in the backline.

When Dodson speaks, her teammates listen.

“I have a very calm personality so I’m very strong but I’m able to get done what needs to be done,” Dodson says.

For a defender, a cool and composed demeanor is ideal. Her superb skills in controlling the ball and clearing out opponents’ scoring threats has earned her the unquestioned trust of her teammates.

“Every time the ball is anywhere near her area, I trust that she’s going to get the job done,” Gallaher says.

This season has been a pleasant surprise for Dodson, who missed most of the last two years after undergoing three knee surgeries.

Dodson was a starting defender for SCCS as a freshman before she tore her ACL late that season.

Her knee problems persisted to the point that made Dodson decide not to pursue collegiate soccer.

That puts all the focus on these soccer playoffs, which are the final games of her playing career.

“It’s been really encouraging and through the surgeries I definitely have learned a lot mentally on the field which has made me a stronger player because of it,” Dodson says.

She gives the team confidence at times of doubt.

Gallagher gives the team a jolt of energy when they’re tired.

It’s two very different types of players working in perfect harmony. It’s two players in pursuit of something the school has never seen before — a CIF soccer championship.

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