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Aliso Niguel's Olivia Abrecht, center, and S.J. Affleck, right, celebrate a goal as Aliso Niguel takes the lead, 1-0, late in the second half of the CIF-SS Division 1 soccer playoff against Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Santa Margarita on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Aliso Niguel strikes in OT, knocks out Santa Margarita

STAFF REPORT

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA – The tension was thick as Aliso Niguel and Santa Margarita pushed toward the final minutes of regulation still scoreless.

Each team exchanged offensive forays only to be cleared away by their respective last lines of defense.

Then second-seeded Aliso Niguel got a bit of artistic mastery.

Bella Folino and Olivia Abrecht exchanged on a give-and-go that resulted in Folino’s goal with just under 10 minutes remaining to give Aliso Niguel the victory over Santa Margarita, 1-0, Tuesday in a CIF-SS Division 1 second round game at Santa Margarita High.

“We’re on a mission to get ourselves in the next round,” Aliso Niguel coach Randy Dodge said. “They’re very focused, and they battled for one another. They scored a great goal, man.”

Aliso Niguel (20-1-1) moves on to the quarterfinals, where it will host Hart of Newhall on Friday. The Wolverines have not moved past the quarterfinals since reaching the final in 2013.

Santa Margarita (15-5-4), which won CIF-SS and Southern California Regional titles a year ago, gave the Wolverines all they could handle in an even first half but couldn’t generate anything dangerous in the offensive third of the field.

“I thought we were very composed,” Santa Margarita coach Chuck Morales said. “We played off any of their advances. I can’t say that we played bad against them. I think we had some players that definitely had off days, and it showed.”

Aliso Niguel came out with a huge push to open the second half, but Santa Margarita keeper Kierstin Flint came up with enormous saves, including a point-blank stop in the box to keep the game level.

The Wolverines continued to control the midfield with strong play by Remy Mathews, Emiley Brenner and Nicole Friedman and finally got their forwards to burst through late.

S.J. Affleck won a ball and dribbled to Folino who took the ball in her feet and spun around her defender to the outside. Folino played the ball on the right to Abrecht, and Abrecht pushed forward to cross the ball into the box.

The ball found Folino in the middle and she put the shot through the keeper’s legs for the game’s only score.

“As soon as we got that goal, we were all pumped up,” Folino said. “We knew we had it in the bag.”

As two of the top teams in Orange County soccer, Aliso Niguel and Santa Margarita rarely meet. The two last met in the 2012 CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals where the Wolverines won on penalty kicks.

Also in Division 1:

Mater Dei 2, Tesoro 2 (Mater Dei advances on penalty kicks, 3-2): The Monarchs led by two at halftime, but the Titans stormed back with two second-half goals. Maddie Pierson, Lilly Slater and Lauren McKimmey scored in the shootout for Mater Dei.

ZACH CAVANAGH,

Contributing writer


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