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Prep girls soccer: Wrong place at wrong time for Cowboys

Canyon catches a bad break in loss

Posted: February 19, 2013 10:08 p.m.
Updated: February 19, 2013 10:08 p.m.

Canyon High's Kendall Bietsch (44) races toward the goal against Wilson High defender Niki Voulgaris (7) at Canyon High School on Tuesday. Canyon lost the game 1-0.

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The ball just doesn’t always bounce your way — and that’s exactly what happened to the Canyon Cowboys girls soccer team in their CIF-Southern Section Division II playoff game with Wilson of Long Beach on Tuesday.

The Bruins were the beneficiaries of an open net late in the first half after Canyon goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy got caught up in a group of attackers well off the line, scoring the game’s only goal in an eventual 1-0 victory at Canyon High School.

With minutes left in the first half, Kennedy, who had been aggressively coming off her line to win balls in the air, came off again.

But this time, Wilson attackers converged on her, and the ball found its way to the head of Loren DeMedeiros, who sent it into the 6-yard box where Madi Grieve headed it into the open net.

“I was telling them their keeper is coming out,” said Wilson head coach Dalton Kaufman. “We wanted to disrupt her and have her mishit a ball.”

Canyon (9-9-5) struggled to find chances against the Moore League champions, failing to get off a shot in the contest.

That was a stark contrast to the Bruins’ 18 shots, 10 of which were on goal.

Canyon goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy had another outstanding performance, notching eight saves to give her team a chance to pull out a win.

The Cowboys received a boost in the final 20 minutes of each half, when Mari Kneisel entered the game to give Canyon another scoring threat.

“We were trying to get her more space on the outside. We just weren’t able to get the ball to her,” said Canyon head coach Derek Rusk.

Kneisel entered the game having scored five goals in the Cowboys’ last seven games, including the lone goal in a 1-0 first-round victory over Peninsula on Thursday.

Despite racking up double-digit shots, none of Wilson’s chances seriously threatened to add to the lead.

We had a lot of opportunities but we didn’t have any breakaways,” Kaufman said. “We just had a lot more possession.”

That possession, though, kept the ball away from the feet of Canyon, which failed to get off a shot and never threatened Wilson goalkeeper Samantha Moreno.

It was Moreno’s 18th shutout of the season for a Wilson (18-4-3), which had allowed just eight goals all season, the fewest among all CIF-SS Division I and II teams, according to Kaufman.

For Canyon, the loss ends an otherwise productive season for the Cowboys, which finished in third in the Foothill League and battled for a league title until the final week.

“Our year as a whole was very successful and something to improve on and build on for next year,” Rusk said.

Canyon loses six seniors, including Cleveland State-commit Kaila Sargema, who played her first minutes in over a year in Tuesdays game after tearing her ACL over the summer.

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