Cypress' Tatum Gee, right, collides with West Torrance goalkeeper Ruth Soto during the CIF-SS Division 3 championship soccer game at Warren High in Downey on Saturday.

Cypress silenced by tough West Torrance defense


DOWNEY – It took less than a half for puzzled looks to creep across the faces of the players on the Cypress girls soccer team.

The Centurions had been an offensive juggernaut in the playoffs, but the team was stymied Saturday in the CIF-SS Division 3 championship game.

Emily Atkinson scored in the 12th minute and Kayla Cannon in the 75th for West Torrance, and the Warriors earned their fourth shutout of the postseason in defeating Cypress, 2-0, at Warren High.

Atkinson pulled up from 30 yards out and hoisted the winner top shelf, stealing the early momentum.

Cypress, the Empire League champion, was riding a 14-game winning streak. Saturday’s match marked their first finals appearance.

“This is the farthest we’ve been in school history,” Centurions coach Nicole Woiemberghe said. “They worked hard this whole ride, and I just couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Cypress (20-8-2) scored 14 goals in the four games leading up to the final. The Centurions were hard-pressed to find quality scoring chances against West Torrance (20-4-5). Jenna Dages and Tatum Gee had the most dangerous opportunities, but they were often running alone.

The Warriors’ defenders held a significant height advantage, and the crosses that had worked for the Centurions in past games were not available.

“They’re the most organized team that we have played,” Woiemberghe said of West Torrance’s defense. “They are very tall, and it was so difficult for us to get in behind like we were used to.”

Ruth Soto made seven saves for West Torrance. Brooke Riddle stopped five shots for the Centurions, and there were several Warriors counterattack opportunities that whistled just wide of the Cypress goal.

With the Centurions having to move numbers forward in search of the tying goal, Madison Tanos played strong defense against the Warriors’ attacks. She cleared a wealth of deep passes as Zoe Anderson and Cannon repeatedly threatened the Cypress cage.

Cannon finally scored in the 75th minute to put West Torrance ahead, 2-0.

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