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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW : Gahr girls soccer lacks energy against Lynwood, misses chance of clinching playoff spot

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

 

When you haven’t been to the playoffs since 2003 and are knocking on the door of ending that drought, one would think that you would play extra hard to make sure you get that vital win. The Gahr High girls soccer team was hosting Lynwood High this past Tuesday with a chance of putting a decade and a half of demons in the past.

But a lack of offensive support plagued the Lady Gladiators and the Knights got a goal early in the second half for the lone score in a 1-0 contest. Gahr dropped to 7-8-2 overall and 4-3 in the San Gabriel Valley League, still in third place, but now a game up on Lynwood with three remaining in the regular season.

“Man, we just didn’t have it today,” said Gahr head coach Martin Henry. “We lacked a lot of energy and we missed a number of players today. We have four players who were unable to play today, two [of them] starters, and that hurts. So, we’ll have to just focus on our next opponent, which is Warren, and see if we can scratch together a few points.”

Gahr was held to two shots in the first half and the game seemed to be even until the 25thminute when Lynwood began to dominate the remainder of the half. Marissa Bernal got loose on a breakaway but her shot sailed to the left of the net. In the 31stminute, a close range shot from Briana Aldaco was saved by senior goalkeeper Ashley Correia. A minute later, a long range shot from Kenia Iniguez was deflected by a diving Correia and two minutes after that, another shot from Aldaco just went over the upper right corner of the net.

The Lady Gladiators would have a pair of legitimate chances to score in the second half. Off the opening kick to begin the second half, sophomore midfielder Anastasia Cordova passed to sophomore forward Nicholette Palomo, the team’s leading scorer, who raced down the right side. But her shot towards the upper right corner of the net wasn’t quite on target. Then in the 63rdminute, a shot from Palomo just missed at the near post.

“They homed in on [Palomo],” Henry said. “In the first round, we went through and she had a lot of goals and they definitely know who to mark on our team. And, we’re not going to shy away from it; that’s our game plan. We’re not the fastest team by any means. She has a lot of speed and she had two golden opportunities.”

Seven minutes into the second half, during a scramble in front of the net, Tia Bennet somehow got the ball past Correia for the game’s only score. Lynwood would outshoot the Lady Gladiators 11-4 in the contest. Gahr can still get into the playoffs with at least one win in its final three regular season games-at Warren High on Jan. 24 or home against Paramount High and Downey High on Monday and Wednesday respectively. The Lady Gladiators also need help to keep Lynwood from ending the regular season with a tie for third place

“We still have three games, so weed a couple of points here and there,” said Henry. “We’re going to have to hope for some other teams to knock [Lynwood] off.”

In other girls soccer action, three area teams are locks for a playoff spot with a week to go in the regular season and two of those teams will win league titles. Cerritos High has the inside track to win the first 605 League title as the Lady Dons, winners of eight straight games, are 13-2-4 overall and 7-0 in league. Cerritos, ranked third in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 poll, blasted John Glenn High 20-0 this past Tuesday, has outscored its league opponents 72-1. The Lady Dons, who traveled to fifth place Pioneer High on Jan. 24, will host Artesia High on Monday and Oxford Academy on Wednesday.

The game with Artesia could come down to the league title as the Lady Pioneers (9-4-5, 5-1-1) enters today’s game with last place Glenn five points behind Cerritos. Artesia tied Whitney High 1-1 this past Tuesday and will end the season at Pioneer on Wednesday.

Valley Christian High, just on the outside off the top 10 in Division 4, is 12-5 overall and undefeated in three Olympic League games as it hosted Heritage Christian High on Jan. 24. The Lady Defenders will visit Whittier Christian High on Tuesday, then host Maranatha High two days later in the regular season finale. V.C. will be seeking its third straight Olympic League crown.

BOYS SOCCER

A trio of area teams are on the verge of league titles and a forth could end a very long playoff drought. Artesia, ranked second in Division 3, is 14-1-3, 7-0 and eight points ahead of Pioneer with three games remaining. The Pioneers last won a league title in 2013 when they completed that season undefeated in 12 Suburban League games but were bounced out in the second round of the playoffs for their lone loss of that season. Artesia visits Glenn today, then hosts Cerritos and Pioneer next week.

Norwalk High, the hottest team in the area, is ranked third in Division 4 as it visits La Mirada High today. The Lancers, who tied Bellflower High 0-0 last Friday, began the week 13-0-3 overall and 3-0-2 in the Suburban League. The Lancers will end the regular season at Bellflower on Tuesday and home to Mayfair High on Thursday.

V.C. is solidly in first place in the Olympic League with two games remaining in the regular season. The Defenders are 12-3-1 overall, 5-0-1 in league and ranked fifth in Division 6. V.C. will host Whittier Christian on Tuesday and Maranatha on Thursday and will be looking for its sixth league crown in the past seven seasons.

Cerritos blanked Glenn 3-0 this past Tuesday to improve to 7-8-3, 3-2-2 and very alive for the program’s first trip to the playoffs since 2000. The Dons, who had won four league games in the past eight seasons, enter today’s home game with Pioneer in third place, five points ahead of Glenn. Cerritos will also visit Oxford Academy on Wednesday.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Artesia and Cerritos enter the final three games of the regular season tied for first place in the 605 League with 6-1 marks, a game ahead of Pioneer. Artesia, 16-9 overall, will host Glenn tonight, then travel to Pioneer and Cerritos on Tuesday and Thursday respectively while Cerritos (13-11) visits Pioneer tonight before hosting Oxford Academy on Thursday after its first place battle with Artesia.

Gahr is still alive for an automatic playoff berth out of the SGVL following a 60-57 win at Lynwood this past Wednesday. The Gladiators (14-11, 3-4) are in fourth place but a game out of third and will host first place Warren tonight before traveling to last place Paramount on Tuesday. Gahr ends the regular season at home against Downey on Thursday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Norwalk looks like it will finish in second place in the Suburban League as it is 12-10 overall and 4-2 in the circuit entering tonight’s home game with La Mirada. The Lady Lancers, two games up on La Mirada, will end the regular season at Bellflower on Tuesday and home against Mayfair on Thursday.

V.C. which has had a disappointing season, kept its slim playoff hopes alive after a 41-31 win at Village Christian High this past Tuesday. The Lady Defenders (7-17, 2-4) are a game out of third place and will host St. Joseph High tonight before going to first place Whittier Christian on Tuesday. The Lady Defenders will end the regular season on Thursday hosting Maranatha.

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