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GREG ANDERSEN, FOR THE REGISTER
Huntington Beach's Carolyn Archer, left, and Francesca Rand, center, battle Esperanza's Lauren Guerra for the ball during a CIF-SS girls soccer playoff game Thursday.

Esperanza builds on shutout streak in CIF opener

OCVARSITY.COM
:

Girls soccer.

ANAHEIM-Esperanza coach John King stressed throughout the regular season that he wanted his team to be peaking heading into the CIF playoffs.

The Aztecs are doing just that and began their postseason journey with an impressive victory.

Lauren Guerra, Catherine Newberry, Jill Parker and Jenna Dolezal each scored a goal, as the Aztecs blanked the Huntington Beach Oilers 4-0 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs Thursday at Esperanza High.

The Aztecs (14-5-6) are unbeaten in their past 10 matches and have not allowed a goal in four in a row.

Esperanza will take on Corona del Mar in the second round on Tuesday. A coin flip will be held todayto determine the location since both teams played host to a first-round match.

"We wanted to end the season on a high because you have to have momentum heading into the postseason where anything can happen," King said. "I thought we played well and should be well prepared for our next game."

Esperanza took the lead in the sixth minute, as Guerra lofted a left-footed shot over Oilers junior goalie Jane Potter and into the net.

“I was able to turn on my defender and chip it into the goal,” Guerra said. “We came out strong on our home field and worked together as a team.”
    
Huntington Beach (8-7-6) managed to possess the ball from the middle to the attacking third midway into the first half, but the Aztecs defense prevented any scoring. Senior Nosa Ogiamien and Newberry each keyed the effort by clearing balls out of the attacking third.
    
“We came into the match saying that we had to mark them up and work as a team to handle what comes at us,” Newberry said.

The Aztecs increased the lead in the 29th minute. Newberry boomed a free kick from near midfield that bounced in the box and rolled into the net.

The Oilers best scoring chance of the second half came in the first minute. Senior Lindsay Archer had deep run down the middle of the field into the box, but junior Amy Wilson raced back on defense and break the run up before Archer could attempt a shot.

Huntington Beach continued to pressure in the early in the half, but Aztecs freshman goalie Melissa Weck produced five of her seven total saves in the half to prevent the Oilers from capitalizing.
    
Esperanza made it 3-0 in the 59th minute. Freshman Desire Major crossed a pass into the middle of the field for Parker, who chipped a shot past Oilers sophomore goalie Kate Hart and into the goal.
    
Dolezal closed the scoring in the final minute of play, tapped a shot from the box into the goal.

Contact the writer: jeichelberger@ocregister.com


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