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Huntington Beach strikes fast, knocks off No. 5 Edison
HUNTINGTON BEACH – Huntington Beach’s girls soccer team won its first Sunset League title last year.
Against fifth-ranked Edison, the No. 10 Oilers showed that they’re serious about getting a second bite of the apple.
Huntington Beach struck three times in the first half to defeat the Chargers, 3-1, Thursday night in a league game at Edison.
“To repeat as Sunset League champs is so important, because it’s not just a one-and-done deal,” Oilers coach Raul Ruiz said. “It’s very important.”
Huntington Beach (11-3-4, 6-0-2) took a big step toward that goal, opening a three-point lead on Edison (14-5-2, 5-2-1) and Los Alamitos with two league games to play. The Oilers can clinch the Sunset League crown with a win or a tie against the Griffins (11-3-3, 5-2-1) on Wednesday.
Sawyer Koelsch opened the scoring when she headed Jocelyn Ceccarelli’s right-to-left cross past Zoe Clevely (8 saves).
Koelsch said beating their crosstown rival on the road was important to the Oilers.
“I love beating Edison,” said Koelsch. “Winning Sunset League last year was probably the best experience, and then Edison is our rival in Huntington Beach.
“I think if we took the league again,” she added, “it would be a great senior memory.”
Jenna Nighswonger, one of two freshman on the Oilers’ senior-heavy roster, added to the lead in the 33rd minute. Alijah Oliver took the corner kick, and Danielle Wright got the touch to get the ball to Nighswonger.
An own goal by Edison made it 3-0 going into the half.
Cassidy Helenihi scored early in the second half for the Chargers, but Rachel Harris made six saves the rest of the way to hold the lead.
With her team on the brink of repeating as league champion, Harris cautioned that work remains to be done.
“If we’re lucky, it could happen,” she said. “We have to get past Los Al first.”