In a key early season showdown against Edison High, the Los Alamitos girls soccer team did just about everything except put the ball into the net. And as can often be the case, missed opportunities hurt in the end as the Chargers got a late-game with a soft tap shot past the goal keeper for a 1-0 win over the Griffins on Thursday at Edison High.
The loss by the Griffins allowed the Chargers to pull into a first place tie with the Griffins as both teams were 3-1-1 in Sunset League play after the game. The Chargers moved a half-game ahead of the Griffins with a 1-0 win over Newport Harbor on Monday, but the league title could likely come down to the final game of the season when the Chargers visit the Griffins on Feb. 9.
Despite the loss, the Griffin coach Steve Soler said he was extremely pleased with the way his team played on Thursday. Soler said it was one of the more complete games his young squad had put together so far this year.
“We kept the pressure, we kept the ball moving; we did a fairly good job of keeping possession of the ball,” Soler said.
But the one chance the Griffins had to clear a rolling pass down the right side of the field allowed Edison’s Audrey Minar to slip a foot around a defender and direct a shot past the goal keeper and into the far side of the net with about 10 minutes left in the game.
The Griffins had been pressuring Edison most of the second half and had just missed a few minutes prior to the goal. On a free kick attempt just outside the goal box, senior Dominique Banks fired a shot that hit the wall of defenders in front and trickled out to the left side of the goal. Banks was the first one to the ball but her strong shot from the angle sailed over the top corner of the goal.
A few minutes later the Griffins again had a flurry of pressure in front of the Edison net, but their best shot of the possession hit a defender in front of the goal.
Earlier in the second half, the Griffin attack nearly found the back of the net when senior forward Callie Taylor got free down the right side of the field. Taylor made crossing pass in front of the net, but it just missed connecting with Carlie Eastwood.
Taylor had also got free in the middle a few minutes later, but a shot through traffic from the top of the goal box hit the post.
The Griffins had to hold off a fired up Edison team early in the first half, as the Chargers controlled the first 10 minutes. But a couple of solid saves by goal keeper Emily Woodworth helped keep the Chargers off the scoreboard.
The Chargers also had a shot hit the crossbar and bounce in front of the net before being controlled by Woodworth.
After weathering the early pressure by the Chargers to control most of the game, the Griffins could be ready to make a run at the league title in the second half of league play. Soler said he expects his team to benefit from the tough loss.
“At the end of the day, it’s a learning lesson for us,” Soler said. The Griffins had defeated Fountain Valley 3-1 earlier in the week. Taylor had two goals and senior midfielder Lindsey Salcido added the third in the win. Eastwood, Kelly Peterson and Nikki Pokipala each had an assist.
The Griffins will play a Saturday game at Marina at 1 p.m. and then be at Huntington Beach on Tuesday at 3 p.m.