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By Loren Kopff
The Artesia High girls soccer team christened the 2015-2016 season with a complete dominating performance against ABC Unified School District rival Gahr High this past Tuesday afternoon. Four different players scored and a fifth had a chance to notch a pair of goals in a 4-0 victory at Atkins Stadium.
“It was the first preseason game and I think we were a little nervous in the beginning,” said Artesia head coach Octavio Marquez. “In the first half I thought we played well. We moved the ball well, we dominated [but] we were able to just get one. But the girls kept working and even though it took us a little longer than we wanted, we were able to put in three more in the second half.”
In the 15th minute, senior defender Guadalupe Trejo fed a pass to senior forward Alondra Acosta for the first goal of the season. Seven minutes later, Trejo took a free kick from the left side of the penalty arc but her shot hit the crossbar. Then with four minutes left in the first half, Trejo missed another opportunity with a second shot that hit the crossbar.
“Lupe brings a lot; she’s my captain,” Marquez said. “She’s a four-year varsity player and she has that experience. She knows what it takes to play at the varsity level. She’s just going to be big this season.”
The Pioneers took seven shots on goal and kept the pressure on in the second half with eight more shots. But this time, three of those found the back of the net. In the 65th minute freshman midfielder Michelle Albarca made it 2-0. Three minutes later, sophomore forward Brittany Llanes converted on a penalty kick. Then three minutes after that, junior defender Alexis Gonzalez completed the scoring.
Artesia hosted Lakewood High on Dec. 3 and will visit Lynwood High on Saturday before entertaining Santa Fe High on Tuesday and Paramount High on Thursday. The Gladiators hosted Norwalk High on Dec. 3 and will be home to St. Paul High on Tuesday and El Rancho High on Thursday.
In other girls soccer action, freshman Kennedy Wesley scored a pair of goals to lead Valley Christian High past St. Anthony High 2-1 this past Wednesday. The Lady Crusaders hosted California High on Dec. 3 and will compete in the South Torrance High Tournament on Saturday before returning home to face Ontario Christian High on Tuesday. V.C. travels to Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High on Thursday.
Cerritos High and Gahr will wrap up their co-hosted tournament on Saturday and could face each other in the finals for the second year in a row. Artesia hosts its tournament beginning on Tuesday while Norwalk High faced Valley Christian on Dec. 3. Those two teams will participate in the 55th annual V.C. Tournament beginning on Monday. John Glenn High travels to Whitney High on Wednesday.
Former Norwalk standout running back Rashaad Penny is one of the key reasons why San Diego State University will be hosting the Air Force Academy in the Mountain West Conference championship game on Saturday. Penny was named the MWC’s Special Teams Player of the Year this past Tuesday.
Penny became the first SDSU special teams player in school history to garner the award. He was third with 1,060 all-purpose yards for the 9-3 Aztecs, winners of eight straight games, and had 617 kickoff yards on 19 returns. Two of those returns went for touchdowns of 97 and 100 yards. The two kickoff returns for scores ties a school record with Colin Lockett, who accomplished the feat in 2012.
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