CORONA DEL MAR - When Corona del Mar High and Costa Mesa meet in
girls soccer, it usually means a great game. The Pacific Coast League
matchup of Newport-Mesa District rivals lived up to the hype and then
some Wednesday, after the Sea Kings and Mustangs battled to a 1-1 tie on
“It was a battle,” CdM Coach Ron Evans said after he saw Costa Mesa
answer a 1-0 deficit with 11 minutes left. "(The game) was what I
expected. We did an exceptional job of maintaining our composure. But you
have to hand it to (the Mustangs). When you’re down 1-0 on our field and
you score a goal, that’s a sign of a class team. And Costa Mesa is a
After 65 minutes of scoreless soccer, which featured intense effort
from both sides, the Sea Kings (9-3-5, 2-0-2 in the PCL) and the Mustangs
(9-4-2, 2-1-1) traded goals within a three-minute span.
CdM, ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division IV, made good on an
effort from a free kick in front of the corner near Costa Mesa’s net. CdM
junior Lauren Shepherdson looped a ball in front of the net and junior
Paige Janes headed it in to set off celebration for the Sea Kings.
But, Costa Mesa, ranked No. 10 in CIF Division IV, answered right
back, gaining the most out of its second corner kick of the game. Mesa
senior Lisa Dunn struck the ball on the corner kick and freshman Nilani
Duarte headed it in for the equalizer in the 69th minute.
"(The Mustangs) came right back,” Costa Mesa Coach Dan Johnston said.
“We started playing some of our best soccer after (CdM) scored. I was
very pleased with our defense.”
Janes and Duarte also played key roles as defenders. Janes swept away
scoring threats, while Duarte contributed in the Mustangs’ solid
CdM earned eight corner kicks, but the Mustangs stuffed the Sea Kings’
on each of the scoring chances. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gentling
recorded 10 saves and junior Devin Denman also supported defensively.
Even junior Sharon Day, known most for her scoring attributes,
defended superbly for the Mustangs. Day cleared away threats on a corner
kick and a free kick and a throw-in near Costa Mesa’s net. She also came
back after suffering a head injury in the 59th minute.
Day collided with CdM offensive threat Allison Harvey, a senior who
crashed into Day when both went to head a high ball.
Day needed ice to soothe a swollen cheekbone, but she returned just
before Duarte’s goal.
“I was very proud of the girls,” Johnston said. “The kids really
CdM outshot Costa Mesa, 15-5, yet the Sea Kings fired off just one
shot after Duarte’s goal.
Sea Kings goalkeeper Rachel Waters, a freshman, stopped four shots and
left the net at opportune times to end the Mustangs’ scoring attacks.
“The girls are playing their hearts out,” Evans said in response to
the Sea Kings’ second straight tie game. “We’re doing some great stuff
out there. I need to work into my sessions a few more finishing drills
and hopefully we slot a few more home. It’s just tough because I know
(the Sea Kings) have their heads down because of the result. They need to
have their heads up because of what we’re producing on the field. We’re
playing well."CdM and Costa Mesa return to PCL action Tuesday at 3:15
p.m. The Sea Kings play at Northwood and the Mustangs host Laguna Beach.