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Right back in it

Canyon moves into sole possession of third behind Cabrera’s goal, assist

Posted: January 27, 2009 11:16 p.m.
Updated: January 28, 2009 5:02 a.m.

Canyon Girls soccer team members congratulate Canyon's Malaya Cabrera, center, after she scored the team's second goal of the game against Valencia on Tuesday.

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Canyon girls soccer girls soccer put itself right back in title contention Tuesday night with its 3-1 win over Valencia at Harry Welch Stadium.

Down early, the Cowboys (12-3-3, 3-1-1) scored three straight goals on the visiting Vikings (12-6-1, 4-1-0) who had not allowed more than two goals since their Dec. 12 loss to Westlake.

Canyon found its finishing touch and made sure it remained among the league’s elite.

“The goals were going to come,” said Canyon head coach Eric White. “I didn’t know when, I didn’t know how. Yesterday at practice I told them, ‘Look, we aren’t going to panic. We aren’t going to freak out.’ We have Valencia twice and Hart and Saugus, both Hart and Saugus at Canyon where we are undefeated.”

Valencia got on the board first in the 25th minute when senior striker Kelly Deckers headed home a throw-in that had trickled past the defense.

Canyon regrouped and got on the board moments before halftime.

Jessica Leuvano sent in a corner kick and Milan Cabrera flicked it to junior Elvia Contreras, who headed it past Viking goalkeeper Christianne Cordero.

Cabrera finished the game with a goal and an assist.

“Eric’s been telling us to get the ball off,” Cabrera said. “Just be greedy. We need to shoot. We need more shots on goal and we need to attack the keeper. That’s what we did. We took as many shots as we could.”

Canyon’s physical play clearly affected Valencia and even forced senior Aly Drake temporarily out of the game after she was knocked down in the first half.

“Every time we play a really physical team we get taken out of our game a little bit,” said Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell. “We know we can play much, much better than today. The girls didn’t come out. The first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes we played the way we can play.”

The Cowboys continued their attacking style after the break, when Malaya Cabrera drilled in a shot from 15 yards out in the 46th minute.

Continuing to control the tempo, Milan Cabrera scored the final goal with 15 minutes to play when she headed in Canyon’s third goal off an assist from Kati Dillon.

Cabrera found herself unmarked in the box and finished it with ease.

Valencia made a last push in the final minutes, but Canyon keeper Alex Krall didn’t allow another goal.

The win moves the Cowboys into sole possession of third place in the Foothill League while Valencia falls into a tie for first with Saugus.

“It’s really just a bad day,” O’Connell said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Canyon, they got three really nice goals. But we came in 4-0, we are leaving 4-1 and we’re tied for first in league. Last year we weren’t even near this.”

The Vikings will have a chance to knock off Saugus Friday when they host the Centurions at 5 p.m. while Canyon will travel to West Ranch.

pputignano@the-signal.com

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