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Yorba Linda pulls off stunning rally to beat No. 4 Esperanza

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

YORBA LINDA – Down two goals to fourth-ranked Esperanza with two minutes to play, Yorba Linda’s girls soccer team had nothing to lose.

That is, unless bragging rights are counted, and perhaps program appeal for the next wave of players to come through the area.

The truth is there was a lot on the line for two schools separated by less than 3 miles, and when it matters that much, sometimes special things happen.

The Mustangs scored twice in the final two minutes of regulation, and Georgia Lodge scored in the second overtime as host Yorba Linda shocked Esperanza, 3-2, on Wednesday night in a nonleague game.

“Our girls, they just fought to the very end,” Mustangs coach Greg Aviles said. “With our energy, we were going to be tough to handle. They sold out. I can’t take any of the credit from them. They just played with true heart.”

Esperanza went up, 2-0, only moments before the Mustangs (9-3-3) rallied. Isabel Dehakiz delivered the Aztecs’ second goal on a cross from Jacqueline Kimble in the 72nd minute.

With their backs against the wall, the Mustangs turned everyone forward, including goalkeeper Emma Deane (six saves), when their pressure earned a corner kick in the 78th minute. Jacquelyn Dunlap drilled the ball to the back post, and Halle Walls got on the other end of it for the goal.

Mere seconds remained when Yorba Linda got one more opportunity. Vivian Boukalil lined up a deep throw-in. It bounced before Liz Geraghty headed it to the other side of the goal, and a sprinting Taylor Asciak kicked it past Esperanza goalkeeper Melissa Weck (six saves).

“We definitely deserved it,” Asciak said. “We’ve improved ourselves, but today was magic. Coming back from 2-0 and ending up winning in overtime, it was an amazing game.”

Esperanza (9-5-4) led 1-0 at the half on a goal by KC Cook.

For Dunlap, the memory of finishing sixth in the Excalibur Tournament, which Esperanza won, was deeply rooted in the significance of the Mustangs’ comeback.

“It feels absolutely incredible,” the Mustangs captain said. “To beat the team that won Excalibur, it’s surreal. I couldn’t be happier with my team right now.”


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