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Griffins Blank Canyon Springs

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Three seems to be a lucky number for the Los Alamitos girls’ soccer team. The Griffins have swept through the first three rounds of the Southern Section Division I playoffs, defeating each opponent, 3-0. On Thursday, the third-seeded Griffins defeated Moreno Valley Canyon Springs by that score in the quarterfinals.

But Griffin Coach Rich Manning isn’t entirely satisfied.

“I don’t think we’ve scored more than three goals in the last 10 games,” he said. “We get up on teams and then we disappear.”

On Thursday it was five minutes of top-notch soccer by the host Griffins, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead and then drifted through the next 50 minutes, relying on goalkeeper Jenny Willemse to hold the lead.

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The Griffins (22-4-3), last season’s Division I co-champions, came out attacking, showing off their precision passing and speed. With only three minutes expired, senior forward Cyndi Tredway dropped a pass to sophomore midfielder Niki Szlak, who drilled it into the net from 20 yards.

“The first 20 minutes of the game was the best I’ve seen Tredway play all year,” Manning said. “She was reading everything perfectly and setting up the field.”

Two minutes later junior Carrie Hawkins perfectly placed the ball to Tredway directly in front of the goal and Tredway slammed it by goalkeeper Amber Mayer.

That’s when the Los Alamitos team, with the exception of Willemse, dozed off.

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Canyon Springs (20-4-2) tried to take advantage of the Griffins’ lull, but Willemse, a little luck and a lot of wind kept the ball out of the goal.

After catching a shot drilled straight at the center of the goal, Willemse, who recorded her 17th shutout, dropped the ball and fell down. But Christine Bender failed to capitalize on the wide-open goal, popping up the shot, which the wind carried up and over the net.

Los Alamitos will play wild-card winner and Sunset League foe Edison in the semifinals on Tuesday. The Griffins defeated Edison, 2-0 and 2-1, in their two previous meetings.

In another Division I game:

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Edison 3, Long Beach Poly 0--Kristina Furniss had a goal and an assist and Heidi Prestegard and Yvonne Pierson also scored second-half goals for host Edison (16-9-2), a wild-card entry from the Sunset League.

In Division III:

EL Modena 6, Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World 0--Jill Pearson and Kerry Anderson scored two goals each and Monica Chavez and Vicki Bloom both had one for El Modena (18-7-2).


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