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Aliso Niguel survives PK's to reach Aliso Cup finals
ALISO VIEJO- Though a late regulation goal threatened to prevent top-ranked Aliso Niguel from getting back to the finals of its' own tournament, the Wolverines determination to defend their tournament title helped them find a way back to title match.
Senior Sarah Wehan converted the match-deciding penalty kick, as the Wolverines outlasted the Canyon Comanches 5-4 in penalties kicks after the teams played to a 1-1 tie in the semifinals of the Aliso Cup.
“We have the tournament title and we want to keep it,” Wehan said.
Aliso Niguel (3-0-1) defeated Beckman 3-0 earlier Saturday in the quarterfinals and will now host Sunny Hills in Monday’s championship match.
“I always want to win, but credit Canyon who kept themselves in the game,” Wolverines coach Randy Dodge said. “We didn’t put our chances away, but the girls did a good job of coming into Pk’s with resolve and we’re back in the finals.”
Aliso Niguel was on the attack early and their pressure led to an early scoring chance in the eight minute. Junior Dominique Bond-Flasza sprinted down to the middle of the field to try and collect for a shot attempt in the box. But Comanches sophomore goalie Mia Hummel made an aggressive run toward the ball to make the save, colliding with Bond-Flasza in the process. Though Bond-Flasza was forced to leave the match, she would return moments later.
Hummel once again stopped a Bond-Flasza shot with a lunge to her right in the 25th minute.
The Wolverines threatened again with a corner kick chance in the 27th minute, but sophomore defender McKenna Carrillo made an excellent kick save at the goal line to prevent a Wolverines' goal.
Aliso Niguel finally broke through in the 41st minute. Sophomore Lauren Miller penetrated deep into the attacking third and sent a rolling cross into the middle of the box for Bond-Flasza, who blasted a hard line drive that sailed into the upper corner of the goal.
“I saw the opening and was able to place it in the top left corner,” Bond-Flasza said. “Canyon played us tough and we just have to continue playing to our strengths.”
Aliso Niguel nearly added to the lead four minutes later, but Hummel (nine saves) came up with a big kick save off a shot by Miller to prevent the goal.
The Wolverines defense continued to limit the scoring chances of the the Comanches’ attack throughout much of the second half, but Canyon began to establish possession late in the match.
The Comanches (2-1-1) got the match equalizer in the 69th minute, as sophomore Esmeralda Nunez hit a shot that floated just over the reach of Wolverines freshman goalie Alyssa Noh and bounced over the goal line and into the net.
It was the first regulation the Wolverines have allowed this season.
The teams were tied 4-4 in penalty kicks when Wehan stepped up and lined a shot into the goal for the deciding score.
“I know in my head where I’m going to place the shot and I just got focused and envisioned it going into the back of the net,” Wehan said.
Canyon coach Walter Camargo was pleased with the effort of team after allowing the regulation goal and came away from the match feeling that his team benefitted from playing at the Aliso Cup for the first time.
“I think the second half was about playing with composure, and we felt that if we could possess the ball and moving forward together, we could get some opportunities to score,” Camargo said. “We started to do that and that goal woke us up.”
"There is a long way to go in the season and this tournament helped put our team together and gave us good chemistry.”