Aliso Niguel edges Mission Viejo in South Coast finale
MISSION VIEJO-The last time the Aliso Niguel girls soccer team was on the pitch at Mission Viejo, they were celebrating a CIF-SS Division 1 title.
There was no title celebration after Wednesday's match, but the Wolverines emerged victorious by the same title-match winning score and with renewed hopes that a quality road performance will help jump start their repeat quest.
Junior Dominique Bond-Flasza scored the match-winning goal in the second half to lead No. 10 Aliso Niguel past No. 9 Mission Viejo 2-1 in the South Coast League finale for both teams.
“We all wanted this win badly and the hard work and determination paid off on the field,” Bond-Flasza said. “During CIF, we just want to come out every game, play strong, and not underestimate any team.”
The Wolverines (9-3-6; 2-1-5) and Diablos (9-7-2; 4-3-1) finished tied for second in league points, with Aliso Niguel earning second place by virtue of winning Wednesday’s match. The two teams played to a 1-1 tie in their first meeting on January 8th.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had the luxury of feeling good after a game,” Wolverines coach Randy Dodge said. “Taking second in what we feel is the best league in the country sets us up for CIF and I’m happy for the kids.”
The Wolverines were on the attack early and had the first scoring chance of the match in the fourth minute. Off a corner kick from sophomore Sarah Roberts, Bond-Flasza directed a shot that sailed just over the crossbar.
Sophomore Lauren Miller had a breakaway chance in the seventh minute, but her shot was saved by Diablos senior goalie Mikaela Berger.
Aliso Niguel would take a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute. Senior Breanne Chilton-Eddy boomed a long pass down the middle of the field for junior Staci Saruwatari, who out-sprinted the Diablos defense and tapped a shot past Berger and into the near corner of the goal.
Mission Viejo tied the match in the 27th minute, as junior Kiana Palacios crossed a well-timed pass to senior Brittany Barron streaking toward the goal on the far post side of the field. Barron blasted a hard line drive into the upper far post corner of the goal.
Three minutes later, Diablos senior Jamilah Tejan uncorked a shot that rolled just wide of the far post.
The Wolverines recaptured the lead for good in the 55th minute, as senior Lindsey Doyle chipped a pass into the middle of the field for Bond-Flasza, who sprinted into the box and managed to boot a shot by Berger and into the goal.
“In that situation, I just try to keep myself calm, look where the goalie is, and place it where she’s not,” Bond-Flasza said.
Aliso Niguel had chance to extend the lead later in the half, but Berger made clutch saves on a shot by Chilton-Eddy in the 60th minute and on a shot by Roberts in the 74th minute.
Wolverines senior Nicole Smolinski punctuated a strong second half performance by the Aliso Niguel defense by making two key defense plays late to break up Diablo attacks and close out the win.
Mission Viejo head coach Susie Daher stressed to her team after the match the importance of not dwelling on consecutive defeats that knocked the Diablos from first to third place.
Mission Viejo has not lost three consecutive matches this season.
“We’re going to put these matches away and go into CIF with a new mindset of going after wins,” Daher said. “We also have to keep working on our defense and getting it shored up.”