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Strong second half lifts Villa Park over Tustin
ORANGE- After beating themselves with mental mistakes in the first half, the Villa Park Spartans cut down on their own self-induced errors in the second half and displayed the signs of a team continuing to build on a strong preseason.
Freshman Bethany Sutherland scored a goal and added an assist, as the Spartans defeated the Tustin Tillers 2-0 in a nonleague match Tuesday at Fred Kelly Stadium.
“In the first half, we were not awake and got caught offside too many times,” said Spartans coach Brent Whitfield. “I stressed at halftime to make sure we weren’t making our runs forward straight and more diagonal. I’m proud of the girls because we still haven’t played a game with our full team and have been looking to find the right combination and chemistry between everyone.”
With the win, the Spartans improved to 6-1-3, while Tustin (8-1-1) suffered it first defeat of the season.
Villa Park, which outshot the Tillers 4-2 in the first half, had several strong runs toward the attacking third called back due to offside infractions.
The Spartans nearly put the first goal of the match on the board late in the first half when Sutherland got free down the middle of the field on a breakaway. But her subsequent shot bounced off the post and into the arms of Tillers junior goalie D.J. Santoyo to end the threat and keep the match scoreless at the intermission.
Villa Park came out attacking early in the second half and took a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute, as Sutherland dribbled through the middle of the Tillers defense and booted a shot past Santoyo and into the right corner of the goal.
“I was able to get through the defenders, get my head up, and find a corner,” said Sutherland.
Later in the half, Sutherland slipped a pass to teammate Lauren Richards, who hit a low line drive shot into the net to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.
Led by seniors Yanet Miranda and Andrea Najera, along with freshman Allison Zwerling, Tustin’s attack yielded some late pressure into the attacking third. But strong defensive plays down the stretch by sophomore Morgan Escalera, junior Aryanna St. Pierre, and sophomore goalie Breana Martinez helped keep Tustin off the scoreboard and clinch the victory.
“We just made a lot of mental mistakes and were out of sync today,” said Tillers coach Jim Gross.