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Norwalk girls soccer continues to improve, blanks Cerritos

By Loren Kopff

The Norwalk High girls soccer program has experienced life in the playoffs only once in school history, which came at the end of the 2008-2009 season. Since then, the Lady Lancers have combined to win 18 games, but only seven in Suburban League action.

This season, Norwalk is making a serious bid to put its losing days behind and get to the playoffs for the second time. This past Wednesday afternoon, it was all about the defense as Norwalk shutout struggling Cerritos 2-0 at home. Norwalk improved to 6-6-2 overall and 2-2 in league. In addition, the Lady Lancers have already doubled their win output from last season.

“The biggest turnaround has been the confidence in the players,” said Norwalk head coach Ernesto Escobedo. “They’re starting to believe in themselves; they’re starting to see that they can do this.”

Norwalk jumped all over Cerritos (3-8-1, 1-2) early as senior midfielder Karen Dominguez fed a pass to sophomore midfielder Andrea Anguiano who netted her third goal of the season, all in league action. The Lady Lancers continued to dominate the half and stay on the Cerritos side of the field for the vast majority of the first 40 minutes. Norwalk took seven shots on goal and had a golden chance to add to its lead in the 25th minute. But freshman forward Jazmin Gomez had a point blank shot stopped dead in the tracks by freshman goalkeeper Andrea Diaz. One minute later, another shot from Gomez went high and to the right of the net.

“Like I tell them in practice, it’s a matter of just having that killer’s mentality, that striker’s mentality of wanting to put the ball in the net,” Escobedo said. “I think for them, it’s just a matter of them still being inexperienced.”

Norwalk scored its other goal six minutes before halftime as senior forward Beverly Hernandez followed up on a Gomez shot that was blocked by Diaz and notched her fifth tally of the season. Just like Anguiano, all of Hernandez’ goals have come in league play.

Norwalk would add 10 more shots to its total on the second half while Cerritos was unable to put any pressure on Norwalk junior goalie Cynthia Flores, who has two shutouts in four league games.

The Lady Dons go to Mayfair today and Bellflower on Wednesday while the Lady Lancers now embark on their toughest stretch of the season with four straight road games against the best of the league. Today, the team visits Artesia, which has been to the playoffs five straight seasons including a trip to the quarterfinals last season. On Wednesday, Norwalk travels to defending champion La Mirada. After that, Norwalk will go to Bellflower, hoping to avenge this past Monday’s 1-0 loss, followed by a road trip to Mayfair.

“For those games, I think we’re going to be prepared,” Escobedo said. “We’re going to be ready for them. We have to win; there’s no other choice.”

In other girls soccer action, Artesia shutout Cerritos 4-0 this past Monday as senior midfielder Stephanie Flores scored twice while senior midfielder Tiffany Castillo and freshman forward Mary Sanchez. The Pioneers (9-4-2, 1-2) host Glenn on Wednesday. Gahr dropped a 6-1 decision to Warren this past Tuesday in its San Gabriel Valley League opener. The Gladiators (1-2-3, 0-1) host Paramount today before visiting Downey on Tuesday. Valley Christian opened up Olympic League action in a huge way, crushing Village Christian 9-0 this past Tuesday as senior midfielder Grayce DeGroot scored three times while senior midfielder Jenna Jensen and freshman forward Taylor Brown each added two goals. V.C. (10-5-3, 1-0) hosts Maranatha tonight before travelling to Heritage Christian on Tuesday.

BOYS SOCCER

Artesia is off to a solid start in league action again following a 2-1 win over Cerritos this past Monday. The Pioneers, who were 7-5-2 in December, are 2-0-1 in league action and have gone without a league loss in 32 straight games. That will be put to the test today when Artesia visits Norwalk today. Since 1998, Artesia is 13-10-9 against the Lancers, the worst record against any league foe during that same time.

Cerritos fell to 3-7-2 overall and 0-3 in league with a 3-2 loss to Norwalk, which improved to 6-5-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the circuit. Cerritos will host Bellflower on Wednesday while the Lancers are home to La Mirada on Wednesday.

Gahr (0-4-1, 0-1) fell to Warren 3-1 this past Tuesday and will visit Paramount today before entertaining Downey on Tuesday. John Glenn (5-7-1, 1-3)  has lost a pair of 1-0 decisions to Mayfair and La Mirada this past week while Valley Christian blasted Village Christian 8-1 this past Tuesday to improve to 7-7 overall. The Crusaders will travel to Maranatha today before hosting Heritage Christian on Tuesday.

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