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No. 1 Capo Valley captures Sea View crown

OCVARSITY.COM

MISSION VIEJO- Top-ranked Capistrano Valley officially accomplished its biggest regular season goal Saturday and will now turn its attention toward preparing for a bigger prize in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.

Sophomore Jennifer Munoz scored two goals in the second half, as the Cougars wrapped up the Sea View League title with a 3-1 victory over El Toro at Capistrano Valley High.

“Winning the league title was definitely a goal we had this season,” Munoz said. “Now we will move on to focusing on CIF. We have a good team bond and good chemistry this year and we just need to keep working on being consistent with our play.”

The Cougars (15-1-3, 6-0-1) are unbeaten in their last 17 matches and will look to close out an unbeaten run through league play when they visit Trabuco Hills on Wednesday in the regular-season finale.

“El Toro played us well and we grinded it out,” Cougars coach Neil Powell said. “We got three very good goals and just want to carry on what we have been doing and win our game on Wednesday because we want a good seed going into the playoffs.”

El Toro (6-9-3, 2-3-1) produced the first shot on goal in the third minute, as senior Kendall Thrall’s attempt sailed wide of the goal.

Capistrano Valley claimed a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute of the match. Senior Alex Hussar made an excellent toe tap on the ball to clear herself of a Chargers defender, dribbled into the box, and rolled a shot to the right of Chargers senior goalie Andee Higgins and into the back of the net.

It was Hussar’s team leading 14th goal of the season.

Though Cougars continued to possess and pass the ball well into the attacking third throughout much of the half, the Chargers defense stiffened.

Thrall again got free for a shot near the top of the box in the 21st minute, but the ball flew over the crossbar.

El Toro’s best scoring chance of the half came in the 36th minute. Off a corner kick that was batted away from the goal by Higgins, freshman Kaiya McCullough controlled the loose ball and dribbled down the field on a hard sprint for a counterattack. She passed over to senior Kelly Peterson, who passed back to McCullough for a shot. But the ball sailed just over the crossbar.

“I was telling myself that I had to play it her (Peterson),” McCullough said. “When I got it back, I was running out of energy and I tried to get the goal, but it went over the crossbar.”

Munoz would give Capistrano Valley a two-goal lead in the 48th minute, as she beat the run-up of Higgins and booted a shot that bounced into the back of the net.

“I just ran through and met the ball, “Munoz said. “The goalie came out and I was able to keep it simple and slice it into the goal.”

McCullough’s hustle helped El Toro cut the margin in half in the 61st minute. After having the ball taken away from her, she fought to get the ball back and uncorked a high, twisting shot that sailed over Cougars junior goalie Aubrie Coley and into the back of the net.

“I was dribbling and was about to shoot when the defender stole the ball from me,” McCullough said. “I was able to get it back and score.”

El Toro had a chance to tie with under four minutes left in the match, but Coley made a diving save to stop a shot by Chargers senior Sascha Hauser.

Munoz then added her second goal of the match with less than two minutes to play, as she received a well-placed pass from senior Samantha Celani in the box and tapped a shot into the goal.

Chargers coach Steve Van Dam was pleased with his team’s ability to play a solid second half and hopes they can maintain it in the final two matches of the season, as the Chargers look to earn a CIF playoff berth for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

“When you have a team as good as Capistrano Valley, there is no margin for error and we had a few defensive lapses,” he said. “Once we got settled, the girls battled and moved the ball well.”

“Our goal this season was to make CIF, and if we play like we did in the second half, we will be in a great position to do that.”

In the Century League:

Esperanza 3, Brea Olinda 0: Alyssa Regalado, Sarah Song and Desire Major scored in a road victory for the Aztecs (12-5-5, 6-1-3) over the Wildcats (10-9-6, 4-6). Katelyn Sullivan had four saves for Esperanza.

In the Academy League:

Crean Lutheran 3, Oxford Academy 0: Meghan Shoemaker had a goal and an assist as the host Saints (15-6-1, 7-1) beat the Patriots (9-6-2, 3-4-1).

Contact the writer: jeichelberger@ocregister.com


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