Girls soccer regional final: Huntington Beach vs. JSerra
OC Varsity's preview of the CIF Southern California Championship games on Saturday.
JSerra (22-1-3) vs Huntington Beach (20-8-7)
Where, when: at JSerra High, Saturday, 4 p.m.
Outlook: A season of firsts for JSerra and a playoff run of firsts for Huntington Beach come to a head in each team’s first CIF Southern California Regional final. Both teams are on similar rolls in the regional phase as second-seeded JSerra has outscored its opponents, 9-1, and Huntington Beach has not allowed a goal while beating its opponents, 9-0. JSerra came into its first regionals berth after winning its first Trinity League and CIF-SS titles. The Lions play a direct style by getting the ball forward for the likes of Isabella D’Aquila, the county’s leading scorer with 34 goals, and Julie Doyle. Samantha Hobert and Nikki Font lead a dynamic midfield, and Jordyn Gather stars on a solid back line in front of goalkeepers Ryan Campbell and Kiana Soloman. Huntington Beach qualified for its first regionals after reaching its first CIF-SS semifinal. The Oilers lost to JSerra, 2-1, at home in that semifinal, but have won two road games on their way to the regional final, including beating top-seeded Torrey Pines in the first round. Huntington Beach has two standout players who are also part of the school's basketball team - senior goalkeeper Rachel Harris and freshman midfielder Xolani Hodel. Harris was expert on penalty kicks in the CIF-SS playoffs while posting four shutouts in the postseason behind a more defensive and possession-oriented Huntington Beach unit. Hodel and seven of her teammates - Briana Barnes, Alex Lotter, Makenna McGill, Summer Stewart, Alyssa Hornback and Remi Davison - have scored a goal in the regionals.