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Tesoro, Santa Margarita expect passionate rematch
Tesoro girls soccer coach George Deverrick has humorously dubbed these playoffs “the season that never ends.”
Such a description portrays the wear and tear of a long postseason run, but for Deverrick’s team, it has led to a great opportunity.
The Titans take on Santa Margarita in the final of the CIF Southern California Division I Regionals at 3 p.m. today at Santiago Canyon College.
Tesoro lost to the Eagles, 3-1, in the CIF-SS Division 1 championship game a week ago. When the regional tournament draw came out with the teams lining up on opposite ends of the bracket, the Titans had built-in motivation to get back to a title match.
“The motivation this week has been, ‘if Santa Margarita does it on the other side, you don’t want to be the team that didn’t do it on this side,’” Deverrick said. “You want the opportunity now, not for next season, while it’s still fresh in your mind.”
To get to today’s regional final, the Titans defeated Southern Section semifinalist Rancho Cucamonga, 1-0, before dismantling Los Angeles City Section champion Taft of Woodland Hills, 4-0. Defender Maesyn G’Bye has stepped up on the attack during regionals, posting two goals and two assists in two games.
Tesoro did not get its attack going in the CIF-SS final until Santa Margarita had a 3-0 lead. Deverrick expects to see his Titans play more aggressive from the opening whistle.
“I think you’re going to see a very different game,” he said, “because our girls know that if they don’t step up and play like they can, they’re going to have deal with the fact that we have lost two finals in a week to a local rival.
“I think that we will have more than enough energy and desire and determination to compete against Santa Margarita.”
Both teams agree that the long playoff run has been taxing physically and emotionally.
“They’re drained out from the level that they had to achieve to get to the finals of CIF,” Eagles coach Chuck Morales said of his team’s players. “Then (regionals) rears its head. You have to be able to play with emotion. Hopefully, we will be able to ride that adrenaline.”
Santa Margarita’s offense was not always effective in the CIF-SS playoffs. The Eagles scraped by on penalty kicks twice, but one thing they have done a good job of lately is scoring the first goal.
Morales believes scoring first today will be critical.
“First blood is absolutely huge,” Morales said. “The only advantage that Santa Margarita has is that we have beaten them. That’s big in the mental side of it. If we hold them off for a good part of the game, or if we get a score, that’s going to start looming even larger.”
There is a lot on the line, but Deverrick says that regardless of the result, the season is a success.
“It’s very positive to build on and improve every year with big tournament wins, going far into CIF, and then reaching the final and regional finals,” he said. “Whatever the outcome is, it has been an incredible season.”