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By Loren Kopff
The secret inside joke that has been circulating around Suburban League soccer for years has been that whenever the Artesia and Cerritos High teams play each other, you can count on rain more times than not. While it was not raining when the teams met last Friday in the league opener for both teams, Mother Nature still played a part in the game.
Because of recent winter storms, the boys and girls games were moved to Fedde Sports Complex in Hawaiian Gardens and Goodman Stadium on the La Mirada High campus because those two facilities have field turf surfaces and the grass surfaces at the respective league schools were deemed unplayable.
With that said, Cerritos, which had only two shots in the game, got a goal from freshman midfielder Kassidy Valtierra with less than a minute remaining in the first half and it held up for a 1-0 win at Fedde Sports Complex. Valtierra took a pass off a corner kick from junior midfielder Kavitha George and knocked in her first tally of her young high school career.
“That is something we practiced,” said Cerritos head coach Robert Adams. “We practice it pretty consistently, set plays, because we tend to give up a lot of goals on set plays just like that. Really, the girls did exactly what they were supposed to do. Kassidy struck the ball well, and on target, which has been a focus for us the past seven or eight practices. It finally worked out the way it was supposed to work out.”
Cerritos would have numerous opportunities to not only score, but get off good shots throughout the game, but couldn’t. Eight minutes into the game, George sent a pass to senior midfielder Jessica Chen, who was at a wide angle from the net but was unable to take a good shot. The same thing happened in the 20th minute when sophomore midfielder Daphne Ayala crossed a pass to sophomore forward Erika Rizal inside the penalty box.
In the second half, sophomore midfielder Iris Lee got loose on a breakaway only to see her shot stopped by Artesia sophomore goalkeeper Shiann Mustafa.
“That is the character of our team; it tends to be the character of our team,” Adams said. “We win a lot of games by one goal when we should be winning by four. We continue to work on that.”
While the Cerritos offense, which has been held to one goal four times, going 3-0-1 in those games, was struggling, the defense was doing a much better job. The Pioneers were limited to five shots in the game with the best chance coming in the 61st minute when a free kick from junior forward Brittany Llanes 35 yards out was saved by senior goalie Andrea Diaz. Through the first 10 games, the Lady Dons had yielded seven goals and have shutout their opponents five times.
“The defense did really well,” Adams said. “Obviously we anchored it with a couple of seniors in the middle and a junior, Julia [Couto], who really stepped into the ball very well today. And by doing that, took away all of their opportunities.”
Cerritos (8-3-1, 1-2-0) would then fall to Bellflower High 3-2 this past Monday and 3-1 to Mayfair High this past Wednesday. The Lady Dons will visit Norwalk High on Wednesday and will host John Glenn High on Friday. Artesia (5-6-2, 1-2-0) would edge Norwalk High 2-1 this past Monday before getting blanked by La Mirada 7-0 this past Wednesday. The Pioneers will visit Bellflower today and Glenn on Wednesday before hosting Mayfair on Friday.
In other girls soccer action, Gahr High, which has one win and has scored six goals this season, hosted Warren High on Jan. 12 and will travel to Paramount High on Tuesday before entertaining Downey High on Thursday.
Glenn, with three goals scored and no wins this season, will host Mayfair today while Norwalk fell to 6-3-2 overall and 0-2-0 in the league following back to back losses to Mayfair (6-1) and Artesia (2-1). The Lady Lancers will visit La Mirada today and Bellflower on Friday.
Valley Christian High kicked off Olympic League action with a 1-0 win over Heritage Christian High last Friday on a goal from sophomore Christina Pollard. The Lady Crusaders (9-3-3, 1-0-0) have not lost since Dec. 16 and will visit Village Christian today before hosting Whittier Christian High on Tuesday before travelling to Maranatha High on Friday.
Gahr trailed Lynwood High throughout most of its San Gabriel Valley League this past Wednesday. But junior Gary Williams grabbed an offensive rebound following two missed free throws from senior Marvin Bragg and tipped in the game-winning basket with 0.9 seconds remaining as the Gladiators bounced back for a 60-58 victory. Gahr, which trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second quarter and went 9:10 without a field goal in the first half, improved to 10-7. Bragg scored a team-high 24 points and had nine rebounds while Williams added 20 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists. Gahr will visit Warren High today and host Paramount High on Wednesday before going to Downey High on Friday.
Valley Christian also won its league opener as the Crusaders defeated Heritage Christian 75-68 on Jan. 5 in Olympic League action. The next day, V.C. beat Ontario Christian High 71-63 and picked up a 75-59 victory at Capistrano Valley Christian High this past Tuesday. The Crusaders (11-7, 1-0) will visit Village Christian tonight and host Whittier Christian on Tuesday before going to Maranatha on Friday.
Whitney High dropped a 61-53 decision to St. Margaret’s High this past Tuesday in Academy League play and will host Calvary Chapel Downey High tonight and Crean Lutheran High on Saturday before visiting Sage Hill High on Tuesday and Oxford Academy on Friday.
Gahr was no match for Lynwood in a 65-27 loss this past Wednesday as the Gladiators saw their record fall to 8-6 overall, 0-1 in the circuit. Senior Alana Soltis led Gahr with nine points while junior Dezirae Smith came off the bench to score four points and have four rebounds.
Glenn continues to struggle scoring as the Lady Eagles scored a combined 54 points in their losses to La Mirada and Bellflower to begin Suburban League action. Glenn (1-12, 0-2) has been held to under 37 points in all 12 of their losses.
Norwalk (7-7, 1-1) got past a pesky Artesia squad 46-36 this past Monday as senior Crystal Lambey scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds while junior Angie Aldana added nine points, 10 points and four steals.
Valley Christian remains as the hottest team in the area, winning for the eighth straight time after crushing Ontario Christian 56-15 last Saturday. The Lady Crusaders (14-3, 1-0) will visit Village Christian tonight and host Whittier Christian on Tuesday before making a trek to Maranatha on Friday.
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