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No. 9 Santa Margarita holds off Mission Viejo
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA-After a first half of near misses, the Santa Margarita Eagles used a strong opening 10 minutes of the second half to propel them to their first victory of the season.
Seniors Lauren Rodriguez and Samantha Trenary each tallied goals in the second half, as No. 9 Santa Margarita defeated the Mission Viejo Diablos, 2-1, in a nonleague match Tuesday at Santa Margarita High.
Senior goalie Taylor Wulf had five saves for Santa Margarita (1-1) which rebounded from a 4-2 loss to Tesoro in their season-opening match last week to hand Mission Viejo (2-1) its first defeat of the season.
“We settled things down in the second half, changed the flow of the game, and got the right bounces, which helped us," Eagles coach Chuck Morales said.
The Eagles were aggressive in the opening moments of the match and appeared to take the lead in the fourth minute. Junior Kaitlin Klawunder dribbled deep and into the attacking third and sent a pass over to fellow junior Melanie Spensiero, who put a shot past Diablos senior goalie Mikaela Berger. But the goal was disallowed because of an offside call.
The Diablos nearly took the lead in the ninth minute, but senior midfielder Niki Miyashiro saved a goal by kicking a ball out the goal just before it crossed the goal line.
The Eagles missed another golden scoring chance in the 11th minute. Trenary beat a hard run up to the ball by Berger and hit a shot that bounced through the box, but hit the far post. Diablos senior defender Paige Severson managed to kick the ball out of the middle of the goal before it could be rebounded.
Wulf produced two big saves in the 15th minute to keep the Diablos off the scoreboard.
Santa Margarita had one more quality chance in the 26th minute, but a Rodriguez shot off a cross from junior Heather Walleigh sailed right over the crossbar.
The Eagles were on the attack just after the opening kickoff of the second half, and finally broke through for the first goal of the match in the 41st minute. Trenary placed a well-timed pass to a Rodriguez, whose subsequent shot eluded the reach of Berger, hit the post, and bounced into the opposite corner of the goal.
“Sam (Trenary) played a great ball and I checked out and came to the inside,” Rodriguez said. “I know that the sun was in the goalie’s eyes and I just took a shot low and hard on the outside of my foot and we got fortunate that it made it in."
Berger prevented the lead from increasing in the 46th minute, saving a shot by Trenary. But two minutes later, a hard run into the attacking third by Rodriguez led to a Diablos foul in the box.
On the ensuing penalty kick, Trenary lined a shot to the right of Berger and into the goal to give Santa Margarita a 2-0 lead.
“I knew I had to make up for being unlucky earlier,” Trenary said. “I’ve been working on Pks’ and I knew that the keeper is good, so I looked to the right to try and fake her out and placed it to the left.”
The Diablos cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 64th minute, as junior Kiana Palacios booted a crossing pass from the right sideline to the middle of the box. Junior Natalie Gonzalez received the pass and hit a shot the left of Wulf and into the goal.
“It was a good pass that was easy to control,” Gonzalez said. “It’s easy to communicate with her (Palacios) and I like playing with her up top.”
Palacios helped the Diablos pressure the Eagles defense late in the match. Off a side throw-in by junior Alexa Cabrales in the 74th minute, she managed to get a shot off in the middle of the box. But the ball sailed to the outside of the goal.
The Diablos threatened again in the final moments of the match, but a shot by freshman Leah Cernicky floated just over the crossbar.
Defensive clears by Eagles senior defenders Jennifer Donegan, Kailey Hackett, and Jennifer Rupey helped close out the win.
"It’s obviously early in the season and there are some things that we are still working on,” Diablos coach Susie Daher said. “We need a better overall presence in our midfield to help us win some of those 50/50 balls. We’re fit and fast, but lack a little bit of the understanding of how to set the pace of the game by not allowing other teams possession of the ball.”