Northwood senior Bianca Zavala and Palos Verdes freshman Jannessa Groves jump for the ball during the CIF-SS Division 2 championship game against at Warren High in Downey.

Northwood takes misstep in Div. 2 final


DOWNEY – Natasa Eleftheriou is listed as a defender on her team’s roster, however, the free-kick specialist’s two goals lifted Palos Verdes of Palos Verdes Estates over Northwood, 3-2, in the CIF-SS Division 2 girls soccer championship Saturday at Warren High.

Eleftheriou took advantage of costly Northwood fouls, scoring goals off of a free kick from outside the box in the first half and a penalty kick in the second.

“We put that on ourselves,” said Northwood coach Cory Dilbeck. “We made the mistakes to have that happen.”

Northwood (17-5-5), making its debut in the CIF-SS championship round, struck first in the 26th minute when Chinyere Chambers lofted a cross for Danielle Solaru to run under. As Solaru was battling with a defender, Carina Hendley charged in and buried the cross into the goal.

Eleftheriou got Palos Verdes (19-4-2) on the scoreboard three minutes later on a set piece just outside the box. Eleftheriou bent her shot around the right side of the wall and just inside the near post while the Northwood goalie – who was defending the far post – could do nothing but watch.

Following a Northwood scoring chance that ended with its players tripping over Palos Verdes defenders, the Sea Kings attacked quickly and got the ball deep into the Timberwolves half. Palos Verdes eventually drew a foul that led to a penalty kick. This time Eleftheriou drilled her shot into the upper right corner.

The Sea Kings extended their lead to 3-1 in the 68th minute when Sydney Sharp put away a rebound after the ball squirted to her through a scrum in the box.

Solaru added a goal in the 71st minute, and the Timberwolves had a chance to replicate their come-from-behind win in the semifinals on Tuesday, but their late scramble to tie fell short.

The Timberwolves will continue their season next week in the CIF Southern California Regionals.

While they were disappointed over the loss, Dilbeck said he expects his players to be ready to compete in regionals.

“It’s a very self-motivated group,” he said. “They want it.”

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