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GIRLS SOCCER : Cerritos dominates Gahr behind stellar set plays, solid defense

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter


The Cerritos High girls soccer team didn’t need any help with the Santa Ana winds howling from the east at 23 miles per hour and gusts up to 38 mph at game time when it hosted Gahr High this past Tuesday. The way the Lady Dons were playing, especially in the second half, one goal would have been enough.

But with heavier competition on the horizon over the next week and a half, Cerritos wanted to get as much time in working on set plays and that’s what it did in a 7-0 win over the Lady Gladiators. Already up 3-0 at the half, Cerritos head coach Rob Adams wanted to work on his corner kick play more, even though the hosts took six of them in the first half.

“Exactly, and that’s what we were trying to do,” Adams said. “We lack creativity just because of the youthful makeup of our team. So, it was a good opportunity for us to try some things out. We typically, at this time of the year, don’t have set plays put into place. We don’t have set corner kicks or things like that.”

It was one of those corner kicks that resulted in the third goal as sophomore forward Jayda Anusasanananta headed in a goal from a corner kick taken by senior forward Tyra Wiley in the 37th minute. Before that, the Lady Dons were peppering Gahr sophomore goalkeeper Ashley Correia to the tune of eight shots.

The domination began in the ninth minute as a free kick from senior forward Kavitha George from inside the penalty arc was tipped up and over the crossbar by Correia. But five minutes later, George found the back of the net when she followed up a shot taken by junior forward Erika Rizal as the two were working a perfect two-on-one play. Rizal’s shot had been slightly altered by Correia, but George was standing in the perfect spot to take her shot.

“That’s a system goal,” Adams said. “That’s a ‘everybody in the right position’ goal. Those are the types of things that we need to clean up. That’s where we were lacking a little bit last year. We’re youthful in a few spots, but we definitely have some players that can calm everything down and have the composure to be able to make a really good progress.”

Cerritos (2-1) made it 2-0 in the 25th minute when senior midfielder Arianna Ceballos scored her first goal of the season. The best chance for the Lady Gladiators to get one past sophomore goalkeeper Shelby Dykes came in the 31st minute. Junior Michelle Gaytan stole the ball and after working a beautiful give-and-go with a teammate, took a shot that sailed high above the left corner of the net.

Not ready to relax despite the big lead and the exceptional play by the Cerritos back four of juniors Julia Couto, Roshni Edwards, Iris Lee and sophomore Asha George, the Lady Dons continued to work more on set plays, and score as well. Ayala made sure her shot in the 55th minute went in and three minutes later, Edwards raced down the right sideline, passed to Kavitha George whose shot hit the crossbar. But the ball bounced back to Wiley, who made it 5-0.

“Her personality and her energy level absolutely makes the team go,” Adams said of Kavitha George, who scored 11 goals last season.

Wiley scored again, in the 63rd minute, off a pass from sophomore forward Shamara Barsana and the final tally came in the 72nd minute when Edwards took a free kick from about 35 yards out and deposited the ball in the upper left corner.

The Lady Dons outshot Gahr (1-1-1) 19-2 and took 13 corner kicks. After facing Fullerton High on Dec. 7, Cerritos will face the Archer School for Girls and Laguna Hills High on Saturday in the Best In The West Winter Soccer Classic. Cerritos will then host Warren High and Cypress High on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. Gahr is also in the same tournament and will play Leuzinger High and Magnolia High on Saturday before travelling to Marina High on Tuesday and entertaining Costa Mesa on Thursday,