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Prep soccer: Not too young to make a run

Heavy on youth, Cards are winning down the stretch

Posted: February 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Madison Utley (8) battles for the ball at midfield with Pacifica Christian’s Shay Denison at Canyon Country Park, on Thursday.

 

For a team with only one senior on the roster, Santa Clarita Christian School girls soccer looks plenty experienced.

Led by strong performances by underclassmen, SCCS quickly went in front of Pacifica Christian of Santa Monica and eventually won 4-2 in a Heritage League contest on Thursday at Canyon Country Park.

The final score was less than indicative of the Cardinals’ dominance throughout the game.

“We’re kind of getting our flow going of how we want to play,” said SCCS freshman Lauren Gallagher, who scored two goals to become the team’s leading scorer on the season.

Her first goal came in the first three minutes of the game when she took a shot from the top of the 18-yard box, which bounced off the hands of Pacifica goalkeeper Tiffany Kardashian and into the right corner of the goal for the 1-0 lead.

SCCS (9-6, 5-2) didn’t stop there.

In the 30th minute, Tiffany Shroyer, another SCCS freshman, took the ball in the far left side of the box and lobbed the ball over Kardashian and just inside the right post.

Less than a minute later, the offensive pressure continued as Gallagher launched her second goal from nearly the same spot as her first, making the score 3-0 headed into halftime.

“I’m confident,” the freshman said. “I’ve been playing soccer for a long time.”

Though the Seawolves (0-3-1) connected passes together well, they were typically outhustled by the Cardinals to 50/50 balls in the midfield.

The Cardinals ended up outshooting Pacifica 10-5 in the game, and that included two Pacifica goals scored in the final two minutes of the match.

Though SCCS dropped into a more conservative, defensive approach in the second half, it managed to extend the lead to 4-0 in the 69th minute when sophomore Yara Wahba took possession of the ball in traffic from 8 yards away. She scored on a left-footed shot that rolled into the back of the net.

It was Wahba’s first goal of the season and it was greeted with a raucous celebration from teammates.

“They really play for each other,” said SCCS head coach Matt Gale, “and my starting 11 is really starting to play well.”

As the subs came in and the Seawolves pushed extra players forward, the Cardinals eventually gave way, allowing back-to-back goals in the 79th and 80th minutes.

Now securely in second place in the league with one game to play on Tuesday against Hillcrest Christian of Granada Hills, SCCS is assured a top three finish in league and a playoff spot.

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