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JSerra players celebrate a 2-1 win over Los Alamitos High School in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 1 girls soccer playoffs at Los Alamitos High Friday. in Los Alamitos on Friday, February 24, 2017. (Photo by Ana Venegas, Orange County Register/SCNG)

JSerra charges into semifinals with win over Los Alamitos

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

LOS ALAMITOS – It was the feel of a championship game in a quarterfinal.

JSerra pushed ahead with long balls and expert finishes for a 2-0 lead. After a red card to the Lions’ goalkeeper, Los Alamitos pulled itself back within one by throwing everything forward.

Ultimately, top-seeded JSerra scrapped and clawed toward the semifinals.

JSerra held on through the game’s final 20 minutes with 10 players and made its two goals stand up to defeat Los Alamitos, 2-1, in a CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinal at Los Alamitos High.

“We had the makings of winning it,” Los Alamitos assistant coach Mossy Kennedy said. “It’s a testament to how good they were that the chances were so precious that we couldn’t score on them.”

JSerra (17-1-3) played on the road due to a CIF-SS official ball violation in the first round and will stay on the road for the semifinal at Huntington Beach on Tuesday.

Los Alamitos (22-5-4) has lost its last six quarterfinals appearances since winning the CIF-SS title in 2005.

“They’re a very good team,” Kennedy said of JSerra. “We played well. We weren’t making mistakes. They forced good things.”

JSerra kept the ball on the Los Alamitos side of the field for almost the entirety of the game’s opening 20 minutes and found the net in the 30th minute.

Off a 55-yard free kick, Isabella D’Aquila collected the ball after it deflected to the right side. D’Aquila sent the ball back through the box where Kennedy Carter put it home for the lead, 1-0.

In the second half, D’Aquila scored in the 55th minute as she came down the left side and lobbed the ball in as the Los Alamitos keeper came off her line for the two-goal lead.

In the 59th minute, JSerra goalkeeper Ryan Campbell got a red card after she took down a Griffin attacker just outside the box.

That lit a fire for Los Alamitos to keep pushing and Amanda Jones scored off an Ally LaCarra Platt rebound in the 65th minute.

“Our challenge was trying to connect passes and find our rhythm in the midst of a frantic end,” Kennedy said. “At times, we did, but not often enough.”

JSerra bent but didn’t break against Los Alamitos’ final-minute onslaught to preserve the win.

JSerra coach Greg Baker and his players did not talk to the media after the game.

Also in Division 1:

Hart of Newhall 1, Aliso Niguel 0 (OT): Lizzie MacArthur scored in overtime for the Indians.


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