Baca's goal the difference for No. 1 Aliso Niguel
SANTA ANA- Freshman Myranda Baca’s correct positioning on a first half corner kick helped No. 1 Aliso Niguel begin its’ repeat tournament title quest in victorious fashion.
Baca scored the lone goal of the match in the first half, as the Wolverines edged Tesoro 1-0 in a Group B match at the Mater Dei Premier Invitational Wednesday at Mater Dei High.
“We worked hard tonight and it was good that we got the victory,” Baca said.
Aliso Niguel (5-0-1) won the Mater Dei Premier Invitational tournament last season and was declared co-champions (along with San Clemente) in 2010 when weather forced the cancelation of the championship match.
“For us, this tournament is about continuing to figure out who we are,” Wolverines coach Randy Dodge said. “The kids are beginning to figure things out and we’re playing pretty well.”
The Wolverines controlled possession early in the match and managed sustained pressure into the attacking third.
In the sixth minute, Wolverines sophomore Sarah Roberts floated a corner kick into the box. After the ball was knocked toward the goal in a crowd of players, Baca positioned herself to get off a shot and blasted the ball to the left of Titans freshman goalie Samantha Cude and into the back of the net.
“I was standing where I thought there would be a rebound,” Baca said. “The ball came over to me, I kicked it, and it went in near post.”
Aliso Niguel continued to control possession throughout the first half and outshot Tesoro 5-0.
Tesoro sophomore Natalie Jacobs nearly tied the match less than two minutes into the second half, but she booted a shot that was just wide of the far post.
Junior goalie Kylie Leggett helped keep the Titans within a goal with two big saves early in the second half.
In the 45th minute, she made a lunge to the right to stop a shot by Roberts. Three minutes later, she made another dive to her right to block a hard line drive by Wolverines senior Danica Koos.
Behind Jacobs, junior Indigo Gibson, and sophomore Kaitlyn Cook, Tesoro (2-3-1) began to find openings to attack the Wolverines defense. Jacobs produced another shot in the 54th minute, but was wide to the left.
Then in the 57th minute, Gibson sent a well-placed cross into the middle of the box for Jacobs, who subsequent shot floated just over the crossbar.
The Titans final scoring chance came with two minutes remaining, but a shot by sophomore Giannina Battaglia was saved by Wolverines senior goalie Riley Sims.
“We didn’t perform well in the first half and they out-played us,” Titans coach Nick Schofield said. “We tried to play to some of our strengths in the second half, and had some good looks, but we’re disappointed by the start of the game. We can’t start like that against a team like Aliso Niguel.”