IRVINE - At times like these, one loss in the Pacific Coast League
can send your team on a fast decline in the girls soccer standings.
"Our whole league is so close, we probably dropped from first to
fourth by losing," said Costa Mesa High Coach Dan Johnston, whose team
finished on the short end of a 3-1 decision Tuesday against host
Northwood -- a Mustang nemesis this season by sweeping the two-game PCL
"If we win out our (remaining three PCL games), we'll still get a
piece of the championship. It's so close, anything can happen."
On a chilly afternoon the Timberwolves (6-6-4, 4-2-1 in the PCL)
scored three goals in the first half for the difference-maker as they
moved ahead of Costa Mesa in the wild league standings.
The Mustangs (10-5-3, 3-2-2) had a run of bad luck as Northwood's Lila
Prato gave the hosts a 1-0 edge in the 18th minute, after booting one
from 40 yards out. The ball took a crazy bounce and caromed over the head
of Costa Mesa goalie Kaitlyn Gentling (three saves).
"It was just a weird bounce," said Johnston, whose team fell behind,
2-0, when Northwood midfielder Leah Geisinger scored on a shot off
Gentling's fingertips in the 23rd minute.
Northwood, which outshot Costa Mesa, 12-10, scored again in the 40th
minute as forward Amber Bettenhausen punched one on the ground from 20
yards out and the slow roller found its way into the corner of the net.
Johnston argued that Northwood was offside on the play, but to avail.
"We just threw away the first half," Johnston said. "I'm not surprised
to lose 3-1 when you give away three cheap goals. We played very well in
the second half (outshooting the T-wolves, 6-3), but our problem is that
we keep wasting chances. We've got to stop doing that."
Costa Mesa, which defeated Northwood on penalty kicks in the Ocean
View Tournament earlier this season, cashed in on only one scoring
opportunity in the second half.
In the 68th minute, Costa Mesa's hustling forward, Sarah Ronquillo,
collided with Northwood goalie Allison Wing (six saves), who broke up
Ronquillo's breakaway. But sophomore Stacy Krikorian controlled the loose
ball and scored for Mesa.
"It was a good win for us today," Northwood Coach Mark Foster said.
Senior goalie Chelsea Soria had five saves for Costa Mesa in the