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The glass is half ...

Canyon and Valencia have to share league title; Cowboys top playoff seed

Posted: February 13, 2009 2:19 a.m.
Updated: February 13, 2009 4:56 a.m.

Canyon's Malaya Cabrera, in the air, heads the ball away from Valencia's Alyssa Triana (2) Thursday at Valencia High School.

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An eerie silence fell over Paul A. Priesz field.

After 80 minutes, loud chants, and intense play, Valencia and Canyon left the field with a 0-0 draw and a co-Foothill League girls soccer title.

Heading into Thursday night's girls soccer match, the two teams were tied for first, yet neither team was disappointed.

"I can't be more proud of them," said Valencia head coach Sean O'Connell. "Hey, we got our banner in the gym, man. That's one of the things we were looking for. It took four years to get here, but hey, we got it."

Because of the Cowboys' 3-1 win over Valencia (15-6-3, 7-1-2) on Jan. 27, Canyon (15-4-3, 7-1-2) takes the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs.

The Vikings will be No. 2 and Saugus No. 3.

With the tie, Canyon's shutout tally moves to eight out of 10 league games.

The last goal they gave up was against Valencia in their previous meeting.

"That's what I love about my girls, teams can bring up their level," said Canyon head coach Eric White. "You are never going to out-intensity us. We'll start out at a certain level and if you bring (your play up to it), we will find another level. Unfortunately, we came up against a team tonight that found another gear and another level to dig just as deep with us."

That gear came by way of freshman sweeper Tiffany Geer, who saved the game and the team's title hopes with an open goal save in the 66th minute.

Canyon's Elvia Contreras took a through-ball past Valencia goalkeeper Christianne Cordero, with an open net in front of her.

On the shot, Geer lunged forward and deflected the ball wide.

"At the beginning of the year we were having some stability problems back there," O'Connell said. "I put her JV to start because I didn't think I needed a freshman, but she played so well, and she put a calming effect in the back that has been flying under the radar all year. She came up huge today."

Cordero finished the game with eight saves while Canyon keeper Alex Krall had seven.

Both teams battled through the first half without either claiming much of advantage, but the second half was full of close calls.

Valencia had one of its best opportunities midway through the first half when Viking midfielder Aly Drake broke through the defense, earning a one-on-one with Krall.

The keeper turned the shot away.

On the rebound, Valencia hammered the ball back toward goal, only to have it deflected out of bounds by the defense.

Ultimately, both teams played with motivation and an unwillingness to relent that was evident in their intensity.

"No one expected us to be here anyway," White said. "I'm extremely proud of my girls and I don't think anyone is going to take us for granted again."


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