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JSerra's girl soccer players pose with their CIF Division I Regional championship plaque after defeating Huntington Beach, 2-1, Saturday, March 11, 2017. (Photo by Rod Veal, Contributing Photographer)

JSerra finishes season in style, wins first regional title

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – It was a dominant year filled with firsts for the JSerra girls soccer team, right down to the last game.

The Lions captured their first Trinity League title, first CIF-Southern Section title and first CIF Southern California Regional bid.

In the final game of the season, JSerra captured its first regional title.

Samantha Hobert scored in the 39th minute, and Samantha Williams scored in the 46th minute to power JSerra to the CIF SoCal Regional Division I title over Huntington Beach, 2-1, on Saturday at JSerra High.

“It was just insane,” Hobert said. “We’ve built this program up from freshman year. These girls kill it. There’s not one person on the field that didn’t do what they could to make this a win.”

The win capped a nearly flawless season for JSerra (23-1-3), whose only loss came in the third game of the season.

It was also a season of firsts for Huntington Beach (20-9-4), which made it to the CIF-SS semifinals and regional playoffs for the first time. The Oilers' loss Saturday was nearly a carbon copy of their CIF-SS semifinal loss to JSerra, 2-1, but they gained immeasurable experience with a lengthy postseason run.

“For us as young as we are, it’s just a matter of making it a habit from now on,” Huntington Beach coach Raul Ruiz said, “make this a tradition that we’re now competing for something from this point on. It’s not just league, it’s bigger and better things.”

As halftime approached in a gritty and even first half, Huntington Beach committed a cardinal sin of soccer.

“The worst time to give up a goal is the first five minutes of a half and the last five minutes of a half,” Oilers goalkeeper Rachel Harris said.

Nikki Font won a ball off a clearing attempt, and Hobert stepped in to lob the ball over Harris for the lead, 1-0, in the 39th minute.

Early in the second half, a miscommunication between Harris and one of the team's defenders allowed Williams to jump in and slide the ball into the open net for a 2-0 lead.

Huntington Beach scored on a last-minute scramble as Alijah Oliver scored on a header off a service from Xolani Hodel in the 79th minute.


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