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MICHAEL GOULDING, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Sunny Hills' forward Maribell Morales (9) battles for the ball with Troy's midfielder Lindsey Dias (4) at Troy High School Thursday afternoon.

Battle of Freeway League's best ends in a tie

OCVARSITY.COM

FULLERTON- The Freeway League’s top two teams went head-to-head in their first meeting of the season on Thursday, and while both showed moments of strong play, neither was able to breakthrough for a crucial win.

Warriors goalie Katelyn Carter had eight saves, while Lancers goalies Maggie Morales and Amanda Poertner combined for four saves, as Troy and Sunny Hills played to a scoreless tie at Troy High.

Sunny Hills (14-1-5; 4-0-1) is the top ranked team in this week’s CIF-SS Division 2 rankings, while Troy (17-2-2; 4-0-1) is ranked No. 4.

“We played a strong match against a good team and our girls were up for the challenge of playing them on their field,” Lancers coach Jeff Gordon said. “It was a great battle and we just have to finish better in the 18 and put our chances away.”

The two rivals will square off in the Freeway League finale for both on February 6th at Sunny Hills.

“Coming away from this match-up, we need to be able to move the ball quicker and know what were going to do with the ball a little earlier,” Warriors coach Ed Kephart said. “Our attacking movement wasn’t quite as sharp and we have to just keep plugging away.”

The Lancers established possession into the attacking third early in the first half, but stellar defensive efforts from Warrior defenders Brooke Gower, Michelle Arakaki, and Brette Dodson helped Troy repel Sunny Hills’ scoring chances.

The Lancers defense was also tough early in the first half, as Kendra Serrano and Shawna Wilson cleared Troy’s runs and prevented deep attacking third pressure.

Each team had a late scoring chance in the first half. Lancers junior Sarah Fajnor managed to get a look at the goal in the 35th minute, but her shot was saved by Carter. The Warriors had a corner kick chance in the 38th minute, but a header from senior Lindsey Dias went wide of the near post.
 
The Warriors best scoring chance of the second half came in the 47th minute, when stellar passing helped set up sophomore Bella Diaz with a shot in the middle of the box. But her ensuing shot sailed over the crossbar.

Troy’s defense continued to be strong throughout the second half despite losing Arakaki to what appeared to be a serious left knee injury near the midway point of the half.

The Warriors had another scoring chance in the 67th minute, but junior Kaycee Hoover was unable to get to a well-placed through ball sent by Gower before Poertner dived on the ball.

Sunny Hills’ best scoring chance came in the 73rd minute, as junior Maribell Morales managed to get enough room for a hard, twisting shot that ricocheted off the far post and away from the goal.

Troy had the final pressure of regulation, but shots by junior Alexis Furete and sophomore Lauren Woodyard were saved by Poertner.

Sunny Hills nearly broke through in the first overtime period, but senior Rachael Wix kicked a loose ball off a corner kick away from the goal just before it crossed the goal line.

The Lancers had heavy pressure in the second overtime period, outshooting Troy 3-0 and producing three corner kicks in the first seven minutes. But Wix led the Warriors defensive effort that held off Sunny Hills in the final moments.


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