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JASON EICHELBERGER, OCVARSITY.COM
The Capistrano Valley girls soccer team celebrates after winning the Excalibur Tournament title.

No. 7 Capistrano Valley ends Excalibur Tournament drought

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

YORBA LINDA – The Capistrano Valley Cougars used a timely goal and continued stellar defensive play Saturday to end their long Excalibur Tournament drought and reclaim the championship sword.

Junior Casey Murphy scored the winning goal in the second half, as No. 7 Capistrano Valley defeated Edison, 1-0, in the championship match at Yorba Linda High.

"Every game we are improving a lot and getting to know each other better," Murphy said. "Winning this tournament is a great feeling and our goal is to keep moving forward."

Junior goalie Aubrie Coley added seven saves for the Cougars (9-1-2), who are unbeaten over their last 10 matches and have not allowed a goal in nine consecutive matches.

"The main thing for us is that we want to continue to stay disciplined," Coley said.

With the win, Capistrano Valley claims the Excalibur title for the first time since winning back to back tournament titles in 1998 and 1999. Their third title also ties Marina for the most titles since the tournament began in 1990.

"This win was very satisfying for us because Edison is a great side," Cougars coach Neil Powell said. "In the second half, we slowed down, controlled the tempo, and got a goal that we deserved."

Edison (8-3-1) controlled possession early in the match, moving the ball well from the middle third into the attacking third. However led by junior Riley Eggeman and sophomore Bailey Selecky, Capistrano Valley’s defense managed to not allow the Chargers opportunities to get quality shots on frame.          
    
The Chargers defense was also strong early behind the play of seniors Sierra Krenik and Brooke Webster, as Capistrano Valley produced only one shot in the first half.
    
Edison junior MacKenzie Cerda put two shots on goal in the 22nd and 29th minutes, but Coley was there to prevent the ball from going into the goal.
    
Each goalie made big saves early in the second half. Coley blocked a shot by Cerda in the 49th minute, with Edison junior goalie Alison Jahansouz returning the favor on a shot by Cougars senior Samantha Celani in the 50h minute.
    
Capistrano Valley gradually began to find possession in the attacking third toward the midway point of the half, putting three shots on goal in a six-minute stretch.

The decisive play of the match came in the 61st minute, as senior Katie Kom centered a well-placed cross into the middle of the box to Murphy, who cut diagonally toward the near post. She tapped a low shot into the near corner of the goal.

"I knew that I had to make a diagonal run and couldn't just stay out wide, and when I saw the ball, I was able to get a touch," Murphy said. "After that goal, we knew that we had to come even harder to keep the pressure on them."

Edison pressured Capistrano Valley late in the match, but Coley came up big with two saves on shots by Cerda in the final 10 minutes to help seal the victory.

“We had a lot of possession in the first half, and just didn’t convert on our opportunities,” Chargers coach Kerry “Mac” Crooks said. “They got a great chance, and she (Murphy) was able to put it away. Capo played a great game and deserved to win.”

Contact the writer: jeichelberger@ocregister.com


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