Edison High girls’ soccer coach Kerry Crooks is excited about the challenge set in front of her.
Crooks is going back to the drawing board after she said that her team lost 15 players from last season’s roster, including both goalkeepers in Zoe Clevely and Jessica Neighbors.
The Chargers are starting over from scratch on the defensive end, and it looked that way when Edison opened the Aliso Cup with a three-goal defeat to Corona Santiago on Tuesday.
Edison came back with a bounce-back performance on Thursday, as the host Chargers defeated La Puente Bishop Amat 2-1 to take second in their pool.
“It definitely felt like redemption for us, to prove how well we can play,” said Edison’s Madi Macias, who had a goal and an assist. “We were connecting really well.”
As a result, Edison (1-1-1) will be entered into a draw with all the other teams in the tournament that earned second in their pool. The Chargers will next play at Dana Hills High on Saturday at 9:30 a.m., and against the winner of Friday’s 5 p.m. match between host Studio City Harvard-Westlake and Dana Hills.
The Chargers controlled possession, and they were rarely threatened in the first half. Shifty forward Nayeli Diaz was the only player creating chances for the Lancers (1-2-0), but Amy Kirk (four saves) stopped all three shots she faced before halftime.
Seniors Megan Blatt and Amanda Chadwick were joined by sophomores Abby McCollam and Kelli McKay on defense, a brand-new back line for the Chargers.
“It’s a lot of nurturing because there are a lot of babies back there,” Crooks said. “It’s fun to kind of teach them. We learned some hard knocks in our last game when we played Corona Santiago, but I thought that we came out with good energy today and were willing to improve. That’s what you want in a team.”
The Chargers put their most experienced players on the other end. Macias once started at left back as a freshman, but she proved to be a force on offense.
In the 43rd minute, junior midfielder Rachelle Elve slid a through ball into an open area for Macias. The senior forward was stopped, but it was a sign that the Chargers were no longer settling for long-range attempts on goal.
Macias would open the scoring in the 51st minute. Michael Guptill, a Dartmouth College commit, found Macias on the rush, and she one-touched a shot with her left foot past Lancers keeper Angelina Gonzalez (10 saves).
Edison did not stop there, adding on to the lead with a goal by junior Cecilia Roghair. Guptill fed in the initial cross. When it was popped into the air, Macias headed it on goal. Gonzalez did not handle it cleanly, and Roghair pounced on the rebound to double the Chargers’ lead.
The Chargers’ defense held firm until the final five minutes. Diaz got the ball in the box, and she drew multiple defenders before dropping the ball back into an open area. Danielle Gonzalez came charging in, scoring on an uncontested shot from inside the box to cut Edison’s lead to 2-1 in the 75th minute.
Edison’s lead would never be in doubt, as the Chargers were content to play with the ball near the corner flag for the remainder of the game. They did so until time ran out.
The Chargers started six seniors, three sophomores and two juniors on the night, but even some of the seniors have yet to see significant playing time.
“We’re just trying to use our experience to support the girls and give them confidence,” said Guptill, a team captain. “I remember when came in as freshmen, it was really intimidating.
“Really, we’re just putting confidence in the girls. We’re confident that we can play with them and play well.”