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Weaver, Yorba Linda tighten Empire League race
Thanks to the late-match efforts of sophomore Kira Weaver, the battle for the Empire League title is now a three-team race with one week remaining.
Weaver scored the winning goal with less than four minutes remaining in regulation as the Mustangs rallied for a 2-1 victory over Cypress at Yorba Linda High on Friday.
"It's a great feeling and something that I've never experienced before," Weaver said. "We starting to get on a roll and want to keep doing what were doing."
The loss ended the Centurions' five-match winning streak. Cypress (14-8-2, 7-2-1) is now tied for first place in the Empire League with Pacifica. Yorba Linda (9-5-6, 6-1-2) is unbeaten in its' past six matches (4-0-2) and moves to within one point of both the Centurions and the Mariners.
Cypress and Pacifica will play each other on Tuesday, while Yorba Linda will host the Mariners on Thursday.
“We knew we would be fired up and we played well,” Mustangs coach Greg Aviles said. “It was a true testament to the character and heart of the girls and they want to be the best team in this league.”
Yorba Linda’s best scoring chance of the first half came in the 15th minute, as sophomore Allie Kolb produced an open shot directly in front of the goal. But Centurions senior goalie Cierra Whitmer made an excellent save on the hard line drive shot to prevent the goal.
Kolb managed to get free for another shot in the 17th minute, but the ball sailed over the crossbar.
The Centurions had a scoring chance in the first half, but a free kick from senior Emma Erbes went over the goal.
Whitmer, who had seven saves in the match, made two big plays early in the second half to keep the match scoreless. She saved a hard line drive shot from senior Emily Schleppy in the 53rd minute and another shot on frame from senior Ashlee Webb in the 57th minute.
Cypress took a 1-0 lead in the 62nd minute, as junior Lexy Gerrits beat an aggressive charge from the goal by Mustangs sophomore goalie Allie Jara and booted a shot that bounced into the far corner of the net.
Yorba Linda answered to tie it one minute later, as Kolb hit Webb streaking down the middle of the box. Her subsequent shot banged off the crossbar and into the goal.
“Allie (Kolb) placed the pass perfectly and I just tried to stay calm and cool on the shot and put it in,” Webb said.
Then in the 77th minute, Weaver received a pass from freshman Halle Walls and lofted a high floater that skimmed off the fingertips of Whitmer and into the net.
"When I hit the ball, I didn't think it was going to in, but I'm so happy that it did," Weaver said.
Also in the Empire League:
Pacifica 2, Valencia 0: Alexa Castro and Kristen Rode scored to help the host Mariners (8-8-3, 7-2-1) move into a first-place tie with a victory over the Tigers (11-8-2, 5-5-1).
In the South Coast League:
No. 10 Mission Viejo 1, Tesoro 0: Brittany Bridgford scored in the second half as the visiting Diablos (9-5-2, 4-1-1) moved into a first-place tie with a victory over the Titans (4-10-4, 0-5-2).
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