Cassidy Hodson, left, of Villa Park is able to get to the ball before Harvard-Westlake's Mackenzie Howe in the final of the Mater Dei Premier Invitational girls soccer tournament Saturday.

Villa Park garners respect in defeat


Girls soccer.

Their ultimate quest of winning the Mater Dei Premier Invitational girls soccer tournament fell a bit short, but Villa Park certainly made a compelling case to be considered one of the county's better teams.

Senior Hannah Lichtenstein scored in the first half as Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood defeated Villa Park, 1-0, in the championship match Saturday at Mater Dei High.

"This is a great indicator of what we are capable of doing," Lichtenstein said. "We have really set the bar for ourselves."

Junior goalie Breana Martinez had six saves for Villa Park (7-3-2), which defeated Mater Dei, Mission Viejo and Los Alamitos to advance to the title match.

"I can't say enough about how my girls gave effort and competed all week," Spartans coach Brent Whitfield said. "They (Harvard-Westlake) are a top team and we knew that we had to be ready to defend. When you make a mistake, good teams make you pay. We were right there until the end."

It was also an impressive tournament run for Harvard-Westlake (7-1-2), which posted a 4-0-1 record in five matches. It defeated Canyon, San Clemente, Aliso Niguel and Villa Park by a combined score10-1.

"We out-fought them and had more heart, which ultimately got us past those teams," Lichtenstein said. "Our speed is a huge weapon for us this year."

Harvard-Westlake tallied in the 22nd minute. Midfielder Courtney O'Brien hit Lichtenstein with a nice touch pass down the middle of the field. Lichtenstein then chipped a shot past Martinez.

"Courtney and I have had some trouble getting our chemistry down on our midfielder forward connection, but today was a great time for it to finally work," Lichtenstein said. "I cut around the defense and the rest was instincts."

At the Claremont Holiday Classic:

Orange Lutheran 2, Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga 1: Logan Karam and Andrea Koukladas tallied goals as the Lancers (10-1-2) defeated Grizzlies to win the tournament. Lancers goalie Sarah Klinkenberg had four saves.

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