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JSerra's surge continues in Trinity League opener
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO - The JSerra girls soccer team concluded the nonleague part of its schedule as one of the county’s hottest teams.
The Lions used that momentum to open Trinity League play with a big victory Thursday.
Junior Isabella Guerry scored two first-half goals to spark the Lions to a 2-0 victory over Mater Dei in the league opener for both teams at JSerra High.
“We were really pumped up for this game because Mater Dei is a good team and we started out strong,” Guerry said. “We are becoming a stronger and closer team, and ultimately, our confidence level is continuing to rise.”
The Lions (10-2-3, 1-0) are undefeated in their past 13 matches overall (10-0-3), and have posted eight consecutive shutouts. Their unbeaten streak includes a tournament championship at the Bellflower Tournament and winning the Red Division title at the North Orange County Classic.
The victory also marked the first time JSerra has defeated Mater Dei (7-6-3) since a 2-1 decision on Jan. 29, 2009.
"We feel like we are a different team this year and these kids believe in themselves,” Lions coach Rick Young said. “The girls feel that they can compete with anyone and they fight for 80 minutes.”
The Lions jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute. Off a corner kick from junior Madison Glaser into the box, Guerry headed a shot past Monarchs junior goal keeper Shawna Hennings and into the back of the net.
According to Young, Guerry was just recently medically cleared to start heading the ball after suffering a concussion.
In the ninth minute, Guerry managed to free herself in the middle of the field and chipped a shot that floated over Hennings and into the middle of the goal.
“Those first two goals were fantastic,” Young said.
Mater Dei responded with sustained possession later in the first half. In the 26th minute, senior Justine Olotoa hit a shot just wide of the near post. Three minutes later, Olotoa had a shot stopped by Lions junior goalie Kaitlin Ross.
In the final seconds of the first half, Ross dove to her right to block a shot by Monarchs senior Shannon McAndrews.
Mater Dei continued to possess the ball in the attacking third in the second half, but the Lions defense stiffened and prevented the Monarchs from capitalizing on their scoring chances behind strong defensive efforts of junior Hannah Lawrence, sophomore Brooke Kunzelman, and freshman Savannah Sexton.
“We haven’t been giving up a lot of goals and the backline has a lot of confidence,” Young said.
With a match Tuesday against Santa Margarita, Mater Dei coach Matty West acknowledged that the Monarchs will have to get over their league-opening disappointment quickly.
“I give credit to JSerra for taking advantage of a couple of early opportunities that put us under a bit of pressure,” West said. “Our girls responded and showed some composure, but we had a hard time putting the ball in the back of the net.
"We will have to learn from this and work harder in training.”