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Santa Margarita strikes late, sets up rematch with Tesoro
ORANGE – Sometimes you just need a little help from the stands.
With the score knotted at 1-1 between Santa Margarita and Torrey Pines late in the second half, a spectator on the Eagles' side made an observation clear.
“They’re looking into the sun,” he shouted.
Moments later, Eagles freshman Madison Curry collected a ball about 30 yards from the net, turned and fired. The ball slipped over the hands of Falcons goalkeeper Alexa Hozouri in the 75th minute and Santa Margarita reached the CIF Southern California Division I Regional final with a 2-1 win Thursday at Santiago Canyon College.
Santa Margarita will face Tesoro in the regional final Saturday at 3 p.m. at Santiago Canyon College. Tesoro defeated Taft, 4-0, Thursday.
The final is a rematch of the CIF-SS Division 1 championship game, won by Santa Margarita, 3-1.
For much of the second half, Eagles assistant coach Eddie Huerta – who filled in for Coach Chuck Morales, who was with the boys golf team for a tournament – wanted his team to take shots.
“(Torrey Pines) had strengths all over the field, but we knew we could shoot the ball and we could score,” Huerta said. “The more you shoot, the more chances you have. We should have shot more, but we shot enough and got the goal.”
Torrey Pines’ pesky back line of Kyra Klemke, Grace Carter, Sarah Trissel and Allie Omens made that task difficult for most of the second half.
“I felt that was their best strength against us,” senior captain Machaela George said. “We didn’t take our shots when we needed to, but we capitalized on our opportunities.”
Similarly, Santa Margarita keyed in on the Falcons’ two forwards, most notably Amber McCorkle, who managed to get to score an equalizer in the 39th minute.
The Eagles gave her extra attention on every other opportunity, which limited Torrey Pines to four shots on goal.
Santa Margarita’s first goal came in the 34th minute. Gwyn George sent in a cross that bounced to Dani Spensiero who put the shot in over Hozouri’s shoulder.
“It’s a great accomplishment to win a CIF Division 1 championship and then make the regional championship,” George said. “It’s a great accomplishment for this young team.”