Canyon's Alexis Cherry, right, and Aliso Niguel's Lauren Miller race after the ball during a Pool A match at the Mater Dei Premier Invitational Thursday at Mater Dei High School

Arcebido, defense spark Canyon over No. 1 Aliso Niguel


SANTA ANA- In a match where quality scoring chances were at a premium, Mikayla Arcebido made sure to take full advantage of her opportunity to help the Canyon girls’ soccer team pull off a signature early season victory.

Arcebido’s second half goal proved to be the difference, as the Comanches defeated No. 1 Aliso Niguel, 1-0, in a Pool A match at the Mater Dei Premier Invitational Thursday at Mater Dei High.

“This was a huge win for us,” Arcebido said. “I feel the confidence from this game will make us a better team.”

Canyon (4-0-2) is in first place in Pool A heading into their final pool play match Friday against Santiago High of Corona.

Aliso Niguel (6-2) has now dropped two of its last three matches overall.

“They (Aliso Niguel) come at you hard, in waves, and make you have to weather their runs,” Comanches coach Tino Ray Younger said. “We played well on the backline and in the midfield and did what we needed to do to win.”

"It's one game for us, but definitely a building block that we can look back on."

It was a defensive battle throughout the first half, as both teams were unable to establish sustained possession.

The Comanches used six defenders at times on the backline, and led by Taylor Rasmussen, Sydney Bennett, and Alexis Cherry didn’t allow the Wolverines attack to get many open looks at the goal.

"We have new starters in the back and they grew up a bit tonight," Younger said.

Canyon goalie Mia Hummel also did her part to keep the match scoreless at the half, saving two free kicks from Wolverines midfielder Sarah Roberts in both the 11th and 20th minutes.

Hummel finished the match with six saves.

Then in the 49th minute, Canyon’s Esmeralda Nunez made a run down the sideline and slipped a pass back toward the middle of the field. Arcebido, who had room to received the ball, blasted a hard line drive shot that sailed by Wolverines goal Alyssa Noh and tucked inside the near post corner of the goal.

It was the Comanches’ only shot on goal in the match.   

“Esmeralda took on a defender and I was floating in the middle with no one defending me,” Arcebido said. “She laid it back to me and I blasted it.”

“Putting it in the back of the net was an amazing feeling.”

Aliso Niguel managed late attacking third pressure. In the 61st minute, Dominique Bond-Flasza chipped a shot in the box that floated over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, the Wolverines' Taita Dumbadse booted a shot that was wide of the far post.

Aliso Niguel had one last chance on the final sequence of the match, but Hummel batted a free kick from Roberts away from the goal to seal the win.

“We didn’t deserve to win this game,” Wolverines coach Randy Dodge said. “We are not doing the little things right now and the girls have to find their identity.”

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