Capistrano Valley’s Speed Results in Tournament Title
It was more a test of survival than a girls’ soccer tournament, and when it was over, Capistrano Valley High had turned in a performance that would make Charles Darwin proud.
In their fifth game in three days, and second in five hours, the Cougars proved themselves the fittest, defeating West Hills Chaminade, 1-0, in the Excalibur tournament final Wednesday at Foothill High.
Capistrano Valley (8-0-1) used a speed advantage to wear down Chaminade (11-2-1) and finally broke through when Megan Abbamonto scored from 15 yards out in the 57th minute.
It is the first time that Capistrano Valley has won the tournament, a title that comes with a sword that team captains have to pull from a stone in a post-tournament ceremony. The Cougars lost in the third round last year.
“After last year we wanted it really bad,” Abbamonto said. “I know it means a lot to the seniors.”
With both teams clearly sagging from playing so many games, a ball-control battle at midfield developed early. Mindy Wyatt and Kim Taylor had a chance for Chaminade early, but Capistrano Valley’s Sarah Banks, who played a solid defensive game, broke up the play.
Abbamonto just missed a goal on a corner kick in the 23rd minute when her header bounced off the crossbar.
In the second half, the Cougar speed began taking its toll. Time after time, Chaminade would get a goal kick, only to have Capistrano Valley players intercept it and run toward the Eagle goal.
Finally, Evelyn Miles found Abbamonto open and lofted a pass on the left side of the field. Abbamonto controlled the bounce, looked and fired across to the far post.
“Both teams were so wiped out,” Cougar Coach Jack Peterson said. “But in the fifth game of any tournament, a team with speed is going to wear down the other team. When we settled things down we were tough to stay with because we are so blessed with talent.”