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Three O.C. teams receive top seeds for playoffs
Three county teams – Capistrano Valley, Sunny Hills and Yorba Linda – were No. 1 seeds in their divisions when the CIF-SS girls soccer playoff brackets were released Monday.
Capistrano Valley (16-1-3), which ended the season ranked No. 1 in Orange County, earned the top overall seed in Division 1.
The Cougars are unbeaten in their last 18 matches, which includes an unbeaten run to capture the Sea View League title.
"I don't think there is any added pressure for us, and the girls are enjoying being the No. 1 team," Cougars coach Neil Powell said.
"Now, the playoff journey begins and we have to step up and get ready for Thursday."
Capistrano Valley has not lost since dropping a 2-1 decision to Pacifica on Dec. 10.
Powell hopes the feeling that came with losing that game will motivate his players as they prepare to make a run at winning their first CIF-SS title since 2004.
"My message to the girls is to remember that game, because it was a game that we dominated, but suffered our only loss this season so far," Powell said.
The Cougars will be host to Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in the first round.
Freeway League champion Sunny Hills earned the top overall seed in Division 2. The Lancers (20-1-5), ranked No. 3 in the final county poll, have not lost in 25 consecutive matches and captured their third consecutive league title.
"We start the playoffs as the No. 1 seed and it's our ultimate goal to finish as the No. 1 team in Division 2," Lancers coach Jeff Gordon said. "Every game is a championship game for us and we will put everything we have into each game."
Sunny Hills made it to the CIF-SS Division 2 title match last season, where it lost to Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga, 1-0.
"For us, it comes down to defense, timely scoring, and having hidden heroes step up and impact the game," Gordon said.
Yorba Linda, which earned its first Empire League title last week, earned the No 1 overall seed in Division 3.
"For us, its' a sense of accomplishment knowing that we've worked for that for the last three years," Mustangs coach Greg Aviles said. "We welcome it, but know everyone is going to put their best teams out there against us and that we have to elevate our level of play."
The Mustangs, who edged second-place Pacifica by one point, will have a first-round bye and will be home for its second-round match next Tuesday.
"It's a nice opportunity for us to regroup, let the bodies heal, and touch up on some things that we didnt get a chance to because of the grind of the high school season," Aviles said.
The playoffs get underway today with divisional wild-card matches, and first-round matches are scheduled for Thursday.
The girls soccer championships will be held March 1-2.
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