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Prep girls soccer: Valencia gets by

Foothill League champions had their hands full with visiting Moorpark

Posted: February 15, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 15, 2013 1:55 a.m.

Valencia High's Taylor Venegas (23) heads the ball toward the goal over Moorpark defender Alie Willcox (13) at Valencia High on Thursday.

 

It was far from the Valencia girls soccer team’s prettiest win of the season, but it’s certainly one the Vikings will take.

The Vikings found a physical match against a Moorpark Musketeers team making its first postseason appearance in three years.

But Valencia was able to do just enough to escape with a 1-0 victory on Thursday at Valencia High School in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II postseason.

“We got lucky to get out with a win with the way we played,” said Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell. “Sometimes to make a playoff run you need a little luck. Maybe this is our time. We got our leprechaun out of the bag.”

The Vikings (16-1-5 overall) got on the board in the 23rd minute off an indirect kick from Lindsay Bos from about 25 yards out.

Bos sent the ball into the box where it was ricocheted in by Eryn Spencer for the 1-0 lead.

But Valencia wasn’t the effective passing team that rolled through the Foothill League season with an 8-0-2 record, instead turning the ball over with unusual consistency.

“We were giving the ball away from everywhere,” O’Connell said. “We weren’t playing our usual aggressive, passing style game.”

The game became more physical in the second half, as the Musketeers (7-8-4) changed formations to increase their offensive chances.

“We knew they were very talented and skillful,” said Moorpark head coach Michael Alexander of Valencia. “We switched to a 4-3-3. We needed to put pressure on them.”

And turn the pressure up they did.

Valencia goalkeeper Nicole Joseph wasn’t tested much in the first half, but Moorpark kept the shots flying in the second, and earned six corners, including five in about an eight-minute span midway through the half.

“The second half they were working a lot harder than us,” Joseph said, adding that it felt like the Musketeers sent ‘countless’ shots her way as time dwindled down. “We were really scattered.”

But Joseph and the Vikings held strong.

“Nicole is one of those keepers, starting as a freshman on varsity last year,” O’Connell said. “She has a knack and a gift to play that position. She’s fearless.”

Valencia will face Claremont at a location to be determined by a coin flip.

Claremont finished second in the Sierra League.

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