Meyer's goal in OT puts Mater Dei in final


LONG BEACH - On two separate occasions late in the second half, the potential winning goal was close to ending up in the back of the net for the Mater Dei girls soccer team.

One header from inside the 6-yard box was slapped away, and moments later a long-distance shot clanked off of the crossbar.

In overtime, the Monarchs finally found the elusive winning goal as senior Briana Meyer scored off a cross from Lauren Markwith for a 2-1 road victory over Long Beach Poly in a CIF-SS Division 1 semifinal.

Olivia Ware found Markwith in space and she sent it over to Meyer for the textbook finish.

“She crossed the ball and it (the ball) was right where my left foot was and I hit into the corner,” Meyer said. “It was an amazing cross.

“We play for each other and with the connection and the heart that we all have, nothing will let us down and we will try our hardest from the very start.”

The Monarchs (14-4-7) will face Laguna Hills in the final on Friday or Saturday at Corona High. It will be the Monarchs’ first appearance in a title match since 2007.

Laguna Hills defeated Long Beach Wilson in penalty kicks in the other semifinal.

“We talked about some stuff at halftime,” Mater Dei coach Matty West said. “I was really impressed with the girls at how we were able to adapt and how we were able to create some opportunities by exploiting some matchups.”

Mater Dei fell behind midway through the first half when Long Beach Poly’s Leslie Walker headed in the ball off of a corner kick.

Ware scored the equalizer early in the second half, taking a long ball over the top from Markwith, beating a couple of defenders and put the ball just beyond the reach of a diving Imani McDonald.

“She’s so dangerous every time she touches the ball, West said of Ware. “It was matter of time before something great happened.

“Give a lot of credit to Long Beach Poly. They were scrappy and they really stretched us and pushed us to our limit and it was just a great soccer day.”

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