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Girls soccer preview: Mater Dei gears up for another run at title

STAFF WRITER

The only thing harder than winning a CIF-SS title is defending one.

Mater Dei girls soccer coach Matty West understands this concept better than most, capturing his first CIF-SS championship in 2007. Eight long years later, the Monarchs were able to nab title No. 2 under West.

Now they face the arduous road the longtime head coach is all too familiar with.

“Our slogan this year is be strong and courageous,” he said. “We realize the big challenge in front of us, but it’s a great opportunity for us, and we’re fortunate to have it.”

The Monarchs aren’t easing into the season, stacking their schedule with three of the best tournaments in the state.

They will make a trip to San Diego for Cathedral Catholic’s Butch Lee Memorial Tournament next week. Mater Dei will follow that by hosting its Premier Invitational, and then ends the month of December by playing in Foothill’s Excalibur Tournament.

“We have a daunting preseason schedule and we’re going to learn a lot about ourselves real quick,” West said. “In the big picture, it’s a great opportunity to grow and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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2015-16 girls soccer preview:

O.C. top 10

Top players to watch

Others to watch

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ON THE HORIZON

The Aliso Cup, widely regarded as one of the top tournaments in Southern California, begins Monday with games at several sites. The 24-team tourney wraps up wth the championship game Dec. 14.

Five of the teams - Aliso Niguel, Edison, Long Beach Poly, Long Beach Wilson and Chino Hills - were ranked in the CIF-SS preseason poll for Division 1.

Also participating are five teams ranked in Division 2 - Troy, Santiago of Corona, Bishop Amat, Hart of Newhall and Palos Verdes - and one from Division 3, Ayala of Chino Hills.

The quarterfinals and semifinals will be held next Saturday. The championship match will be played at Aliso Niguel at 5 p.m.

The Wolverines topped Chino Hills in last season’s Aliso Cup final, making it seven straight years a county team won the title.

STATE RECOGNITION

Six local schools were named to Top Drawer Soccer’s top 25 preseason state rankings.

Mater Dei and Huntington Beach were the only two squads selected to the top 10, with the Monarchs coming in at No. 3 behind only La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad and Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. The Oilers were No. 6 in the poll.

Other schools to be recognized: No. 11 Laguna Hills, No. 12 Santa Margarita, No. 14 Aliso Niguel, and No. 25 Corona del Mar.

The website also selected two Mater Dei players - Olivia Ware and Lauren Markwith - to its preseason All-America watch list.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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