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The Day After Soccer: Time to buckle down

Top teams in league getting close to the goal

Posted: January 31, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 31, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Canyon's Celia Franco, left, and West Ranch's Hannah Hoskins (4) go for the ball on Tuesday at Canyon High. Canyon faces Foothill League-leading Valencia on Friday.

It doesn’t appear anyone is slowing down Valencia Vikings girls soccer lately.

This Friday may very well be the last chance to stop the Vikings from winning their first Foothill League title since 2009.

That’s when Valencia takes on the league second-place Canyon Cowboys at 5 p.m. at Canyon High.

“Our approach is we want to run the table,” said Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell. “We know there’s not a team that outplayed us yet in (league).”

It’s true that Valencia is unbeaten in Foothill play with a 5-0-2 record, which makes it a mighty task for Canyon. The Cowboys are three points behind in the standings at 4-1-2, making this an important game for Canyon to keep its league title hopes alive.

Valencia, which is coming off a 2-0 win over the Golden Valley Grizzlies on Tuesday, can clinch at least a share of the Foothill crown with a win on Friday.

“We’re pretty confident going in knowing that if we play our game and if we generate the quality chances that we did the last time, we just hope (Canyon goalkeeper) Meghan Kennedy doesn’t have two blinders like she did against us last time,” O’Connell said, pointing out his team’s 2-1 win over Canyon on Jan. 15.

On Tuesday, Canyon got seven saves from Kennedy and a goal from Mari Kneisel to eventually tie West Ranch 1-1.

Canyon head coach Derek Rusk said the health of his team could play a factor on Friday.

“All week we’ve been fighting injury and illness,” Rusk said on Tuesday. “We’ve been playing with one sub. All things considered, we feel pretty good.”

Lindsay Bos and Taylor Venegas scored the two goals for the Vikings in Tuesday’s win.

In other league action, the Saugus Centurions beat the Hart Indians 1-0 in a matchup between the third and fourth place Foothill teams. Avery Schulhofer scored for Saugus, which remains in fourth place and three points behind Hart.

Fifth place West Ranch and sixth place Golden Valley round out the girls standings.

Golden Valley hosts Hart and West Ranch hosts Saugus, both at 3:15 p.m. on Friday.


The top two boys teams in league both had to survive on Tuesday against teams trying their best to play spoiler.

First-place West Ranch rallied back from an early one-goal deficit to win 2-1 over last-place Canyon.

Second-place Valencia needed a goal from Marc Silingardi in the 72nd minute to beat fifth place Golden Valley 1-0.

The bigger point is that both teams took care of business and are still in a dogfight for a league title race.

Brendan Moskal scored both goals for the Wildcats, who remained a single point ahead of Valencia in league play.

West Ranch is looking for its third straight Foothill championship, while Valencia is trying for its first in school history.

In Tuesday’s game, Moskal scored the first one about 30 minutes in to make it a 1-1 tie at halftime and he knocked in the game-winner with just six minutes remaining in the game.

It erased a golden opportunity for Canyon, which scored early in the game on a Chad Ybarra goal assisted by goalkeeper Niko Nuyda’s big kick downfield.

“We constantly pressured them,” said West Ranch head coach Fred McGinn. “We had a lot of shots on goal that almost went in and then we got a corner kick. The goalkeeper couldn’t get his hands on it and Moskal got it in the back of the net.”

West Ranch plays at Saugus at 3:15 p.m., which will be an interesting matchup between the league leaders and one of the hottest team in league.

Saugus held off Hart for a 1-0 win on Tuesday, which marked the fourth straight game Saugus played without a loss.

The Centurions’ last loss was a 5-2 setback against West Ranch on Jan. 15.

Since then, Saugus made some lineup changes, particularly on the defensive end.

“We’re putting different guys in, different formations,” said Saugus head coach Seth Groller. “We actually don’t have one formation that we’ve been sticking to. (Against Hart), we played a formation that was different than we’ve ever really played before.”

On Friday, Hart hosts Golden Valley at 3:15 p.m. and Canyon plays at Valencia at 5 p.m.


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