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No. 7 Capistrano Valley advances to Excalibur finals
ANAHEIM-Withstanding a second half barrage of attacking pressure, the Capistrano Valley Cougars continued an impressive run of shutouts and are now one win away from ending a long tournament title drought.
Senior Alex Hussar converted the match-deciding penalty kick, as the Cougars defeated the Los Osos Grizzlies, 5-3, in penalty kicks after the teams played to a scoreless tie in the semifinals of the Excalibur Tournament Saturday at Esperanza High.
Capistrano Valley (8-1-2) has not allowed a goal in four tournament matches (seven straight overall) and will look to claim the championship sword for the first time since winning back to back Excalibur titles in 1998 and 1999.
“This team has character,” Cougars coach Neil Powell said. “Los Osos is a very good team, and they had us under pressure, but four shutouts in a row during this tournament is pleasing.”
The Cougars will face Edison in the tournament championship match Saturday night at 6:45 p.m. at Yorba Linda High. The Chargers advanced to the finals by defeating Bishop O’Dowd High of Oakland 2-0 in Saturday’s other semifinals.
Both teams had scoring chances in a back and forth first half played in a heavy downpour. The Grizzlies had two quality chances in the first 10 minutes, but a shot by junior Aubrielle Camacho hit the post in the seventh minute, while junior Sydney Johnson hit a shot that floated over the crossbar in the eighth minute.
Capistrano Valley found some offensive rhythm later in the half and produced two quality scoring chances. In the 21st minute, Hussar sent a lead pass to junior Casey Murphy, who managed to get a shot off that banged off the near post. Eight minutes later, senior Anne Hinman put a shot on frame the sailed over the crossbar.
Los Osos controlled possession throughout the second half of the match. The Grizzlies outshot the Cougars 7-1, and penetrated deep into the attacking third on several occasions.
The Grizzlies nearly took the lead early in the half, but a shot by junior Lindsey Hennon bounced off the crossbar.
Junior goalie Aubrey Coley helped keep the match scoreless down the stretch with three of her five total saves in the half, including a nice leaping two handed save of a shot by Camacho in the 64th minute.
With the teams tied at 2-2 in the penalty kick session, sophomore Jennifer Munoz booted a successful attempt over the left shoulder Grizzlies junior keeper Carissa Christenson and into the upper corner of the goal to give the Cougars a 3-2 advantage. On the ensuing Grizzlies attempt, Hennon’s shot attempt banged off the crossbar.
After each team successfully converted in the next round, Hussar booted a shot to the right of Christenson and into the corner of the goal to send the Cougars into the championship match.
“Capistrano Valley is one of the better tams that we have played this season,” Grizzlies coach Mychal Armstrong said. “It was a pretty even game, but we just couldn’t put the ball away and didn’t get some of the lucky bounces.”