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Dollas, Klinkenberg save Orange Lutheran
The head of sophomore Kayra Dollas and the strong play of senior goalie Sarah Klinkenberg helped No. 8 Orange Lutheran end a long winless streak against Santa Margarita and maintain its Trinity League girls soccer title aspirations heading into the final week of the regular season.
Dollas scored the winning goal with less than three minutes remaining and Klinkenberg produced a season-high 13 saves as the Lancers defeated the Eagles, 2-1, on Thursday at Orange Lutheran High.
"Beating them raises our confidence very high, but it's about staying grounded because we still have two more games to finish out the season," Klinkenberg said.
The Lancers (15-2-5, 3-1-2) are now two points behind the first-place Eagles (7-5-4, 4-1-2).
Santa Margarita can still clinch its fourth consecutive league title with a victory in its regular-season finale Monday against JSerra or a loss or tie by Orange Lutheran in either of its final two league matches.
Orange Lutheran can win the title outright by winning out and having Santa Margarita lose or tie in their regular season finale against the Lions.
“We know that if we win our next two games, we have a chance to win league,” Dollas said. “That will keep us going and motivated.”
The Lancers also snapped a seven-match winless streak to the Eagles, beating them for the first time since a 3-1 victory on February 5, 2009.
“This is a big win because we haven’t beaten them in a few years,” Lancers senior Brooke Collard said. “We have a great group of girls on this team that play to the end and play with heart.”
Santa Margarita was in control of the match throughout the first half, possessing the ball deep into the attacking third.
In the 12th minute, senior Lauren Rodriguez led fellow senior Samantha Trenary down the field with great pass into space. Trenary outraced a Lancers defender and managed to get off a shot that was stopped by Klinkenberg.
Klinkenberg came up big again in the 33rd minute, stopping shots by Trenary and Rodriguez.
Despite outshooting Orange Lutheran 10-0 in the first half, the Eagles were unable to capitalize and the match remained scoreless at the intermission.
In the 56th minute, junior Heather Walleigh dribbled deep down the sideline and sent a cross to fellow junior Kaitlin Klawunder. But her subsequent header was saved by Klinkenberg.
Santa Margarita appeared to take the lead in the 60th minute. After dribbling through the Lancers defense, Klinkenberg stopped a shot by Trenary. The ball was put into the back of the net by Rodriguez, but she was called for being offside.
One minute later, Eagles senior Jennifer Rupey produced a header that was stopped on a dive by Klinkenberg, who had nine of her 13 saves in the second half.
“We know that Santa Margarita is a good team and we always up for a huge battle with them,” Klinkenberg said. “I just had to stay focused, and as a team, we didn’t give up, kept digging, and showed a lot of heart."
Despite being outshot, 22-3, the Lancers took a 1-0 in the 72nd minute as Collard got to a corner kick and knocked the ball off an Eagles player and into the goal.
The Eagles tied it one minute later as Rupey scored off a corner kick.
Santa Margarita suffered a big loss with less than six minutes remaining as Walleigh suffered a leg injury and had to be carted off the field.
The Lancers were awarded a free kick on the play in which Walleigh was injured, and Dollas recaptured the lead for Orange Lutheran by heading the kick into the back of the net.
“As I was running in, I told myself that I needed to get my head on it,” Dollas said. “I saw it coming and I was able to frame it and get it in.”
The Eagles answered with immediate attacking third pressure on their ensuing run after the goal, but Klinkenberg made a leaping save on a shot by Trenary help close out the Lancers victory.
“Sarah was fabulous for us today and has been a great team leader for us this season,” Lancers coach Del Montel said.