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CdM girls stick with winning formula
RIVERSIDE - A pair of set-piece goals and a solid defensive effort propelled top-seeded Corona del Mar girls soccer to a 2-0 victory over host Riverside Poly on Tuesday evening in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
The Sea Kings (23-0-3) scored on a corner kick three minutes before halftime then came back with a goal on a free kick five minutes into the second half to pull away from the Bears (16-10-2).
Corona del Mar coach Bryan Middleton and the Pacific Coast League champions took advantage of possession and gained control by halftime.
And thanks to taking advantage of set pieces, made the win look relatively easy.
"Set pieces win games in the playoffs," said Middleton. "So to get a goal on a corner kick in the first half set the tone. After we added the free-kick goal we were able to settle down a little bit in the second half and play a lot of possession and drive the end line."
"Think that our problem was with set pieces, we were doing well with the shifting and the defensive part was just two set pieces that really were their chances," said Poly coach Katie Rumfola. "They had two goals both on set pieces, and those were two things we struggled with all year.
"It's just unfortunate how things ended."
Poly, which had few shots on goal in the game, never let up fighting for possession and shot attempts. The Bears, the No. 1 team out of the Inland Valley League, had some solid shot attempts, including Kayla Valenzuela's hot shot that hit the crossbar with 11 minutes left in the game.
Corona del Mar broke the game open with a corner kick in the 37th minute when a crossing pass made it to the back post where Katharine Caston was positioned. Her shot ripped right through a crowd of players in the goal box and into the net.
The goal settled the Sea Kings, who were then able to play the possession game they wanted to.
Corona del Mar was in the driver's seat in the match after its second goal.
It was a pretty goal off a free kick 30 yards out. A looping cross from Trinity Rodman dropped in on the foot of Celeste Wayne, who flicked it past Poly's Caitlin McManus for the insurance goal.
"Sometimes when you travel on the road you have to survive a little bit," said Middleton. "With their home referees and home field...I think we played well enough today to earn the win."
With the victory Corona del Mar moves on to play La Mirada, which defeated Quartz Hill, 2-1, in the quarterfinals on Friday.
For Poly and coach Rumfola, the season ended too soon.
"We had a great season," said Rumfola. "We had to go through a lot of difficult times, with players not there in the beginning because of club soccer then dealing with a ton of concussions.
"This team played through a lot and we had a tough preseason but we peaked at the right time."
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