Corona del Mar's Maddie O'connor, center left, gets in position against University's Darya Fenton, center right, during girls soccer action Saturday in Costa Mesa.

Depleted Corona del Mar girls persevere


Fighting through a rash of injuries that have depleted its’ roster, No. 3 Corona del Mar continues to find ways to maintain a high level of play.

Sophomore Birkley Sigband tallied the match-winning goal in the second half to lift the Sea Kings to a 1-0 victory over the University Trojans in a Pacific Coast League match Saturday at Estancia High.

“We’ve really tried to come together and step up,” Sigband said. “This league win was important for us and we need to continue to play humble and hard.”

Corona del Mar (10-2-2, 2-0) played without senior midfielder Annie Alvarado (groin), junior defender Molly Keasey (Achilles), and sophomore defender Brianna Westrup (right knee).

Alvarado and Keasey are expected to try and return to action next week. Westrup, who was injured in Thursday’s win over Northwood, is scheduled to have an MRI early next week to determine the extent of her injury.

The Sea Kings suffered another key injury during the match, as senior midfielder Alexa Mamatas injured her right ankle early in the first half. She returned briefly, but was forced to leave for good late in the first half.

Injuries have even hit the Corona del Mar sidelines, as head coach Brian Middleton had surgery last week to repair a torn ACL in his right knee and coached the match on crutches. 

Senior Monica Venturini (recruiting trip) and freshman goalie Kat Hess (club commitment) were also unavailable for Corona del Mar.

“We’ve just continued to grind and our bench has really come up huge for us,” Middleton said.

Both teams had early scoring chances in the match. Corona del Mar junior Miranda Stiver produced a shot while sliding to the ground in the third minute that sailed wide of the far post.

University’s best scoring chance of the half came in the 11th minute. Senior Caroline Famiglietti lofted a nice pass down the field to junior forward Jessica Wong. Wong crossed a nice pass over to sophomore Maddie Langlois in the middle of the field, but her shot was stopped by Sea Kings goalie Kendall Mulvaney.

Corona del Mar controlled possession for several moments of the first half, but strong efforts by juniors Shantae Elam and Amanda Evertz helped the Trojans withstand the pressure.

Corona del Mar senior Maddie O’Connor managed to break through for shot attempts in the 29th and 34th minutes that sailed wide of the far and near posts, respectively.

University (6-3-3, 1-1) had two late scoring chances in the half, but Mulvaney saved a shot by Trojans sophomore Hanna Ghamari and senior Katie Hawkins hit a shot just wide of the post in the final seconds.

The Sea Kings opened on the attack in the second half and nearly broke through in the seventh minute, as senior Karsten Sigband booted a shot that bounced to the left of Trojans senior Coryna Ogenseitan and glanced off the far post.

Corona del Mar continued its heavy pressure, producing four shots in a four minute span in the half.

Then in the 56th minute, Birkley Sigband found space in the box and uncorked a line drive shot into the near corner of the goal.

“I saw the ball coming across the field and was able to turn and get the shot off,” Sigband said.

Corona del Mar continued its offensive pressure throughout the second half, outshooting University 10-1.

“We wanted to play to feet and keep possession,” Birkley Sigband said. “We were able to pass and that also allowed us to get more chances and shot attempts.”

The Trojans had a quality scoring chance in the final two minutes. Senior Marissa Kazzi made a deep run into the attacking third and centered a crossing pass into the box for Ghamari. But Ghamari’s ensuing shot sailed wide of the near post.

University was also shorthanded in the match, playing without juniors Reema Bzeih and Chloe Hemingway because of club team commitments.

”I thought it was a good match and our girls played well, especially in the first half,” Trojans coach Dominic Fratantaro said.  “Corona del Mar has a tradition of winning and they stepped up in the second half and converted a scoring chance.”

In the Sea View League:

No. 1 Capistrano Valley 4, El Toro 2: Alex Hussar scored two of the Cougars' four second-half goals in a victory over the Chargers (4-8-2, 0-2) at El Toro High. Jordyn Balanto and Jennifer Munoz also scored for Capistrano Valley (11-1-3, 2-0-1).

In the South Coast League:

No. 2 Aliso Niguel 1, Tesoro 0: Dominique Bond-Flasza scored the winner in the first half as the Wolverines (8-3-2, 1-1-1) edged the Titans (4-7-2, 0-2) at Aliso Niguel High.

No. 5 Dana Hills 1, Mission Viejo 0: Sydnie Zuccolotto's first-half goal propelled the Dolphins (8-0-3, 3-0) past the Diablos (5-5-2, 0-1-1) at Dana Hills High.

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