Christa Ramirez scored the game's only goal with three minutes gone in the second half to give the Canyon High School girls a 1-0 victory over La Quinta in the Southern Section 3-A playoffs Wednesday at Canyon.
The Comanches (16-2-3) play Moreno Valley in the quarterfinals Friday.
Ramirez headed home a corner kick by Kelly Thompson in front of the La Quinta net for his 19th goal of the season.
Canyon goalie Keri Erkenbrack was well-protected by her teammates as she was forced to make just two saves en route to recording her 13th shutout of the season. Erkenbrack, who, like Ramirez, played on the Canyon girls' basketball team, has allowed just seven goals this season.
"The defense has been the focal point of our team all season," Comanche Coach John Williams said. "Keri hasn't had to make that many saves this season, but when she's had to, she's come up with the stops. And we also got outstanding defensive play from Jeni Smith, Kim Maynard and Julie Gribble."
Maynard's aggressive play prevented La Quinta star Cheryl Jones from getting any effective shots on goal, while Smith and Gribble kept the Aztecs (14-4-1) from getting out of their zone for most of the game.
La Quinta had its best scoring chance of the first half with 10 minutes left when Erkenbrack made a diving save of Jennifer Sogoian's tailing, sinking shot. With 5 minutes left in the match, the Aztecs were deprived of a game-tying goal when Jill Keller booted away Lara Crowley's free kick from just outside the penalty area.
"We figure that if we can get good defense, we have a chance to win." Williams said. "We got that good defense, and Ramirez got the big goal on a beautiful header."
In another 3-A game:
Mater Dei 1, Long Beach Wilson 0--Goalie Michelle Lodyga and a tight defense made one goal stand up for the Monarchs (21-4-2) at Mater Dei. Lodyga made nine saves for her 20th shutout of the season. The Monarchs have yet to give up a goal in the playoffs. Tina Manfre scored from 25 yards out to give Mater Dei a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the second half.