The Laguna Beach 16-year old girls’ soccer team charged into Temecula last weekend and returned home with championship medals after winning its division at the annual AYSO Select tournament.
The squad, known as Beach, won two matches on Saturday and two more Sunday, to claim the title.
Beach established itself early and showed it was a title contender by scoring a tournament-opening, 4-1 victory over Laguna Niguel. That win was followed with another decisive triumph, a 5-2 conquest of Rancho Santa Margarita.
In their first match Sunday, Laguna came from behind to down a powerful and aggressive Lake Forest team, 3-1. That win sent the locals into the division’s championship match and, as the team standings unfolded, they went up again against a Lake Forest team that not only had a shot at redemption, but the crown, as well.
In a final played in warm weather tempered by high winds, Lake Forest struck first in what was shaping up as a defensive battle. But as they had done in the first meeting between the teams earlier Sunday, Laguna stormed back to score the tying and winning goals that led to a 2-1 victory.
“The season started out quite difficult but the team peaked at the end of the season,” Laguna Coach Gareth Butler said. “Once the girls started to peak, I thought they’d have a good chance (of winning) in the tournament. They came through magnificently. It was sweet.”
The team is as follows: Victoria French, Shannon Orias, Allie Baker, Ali Terwilliger, Amber Asaly, Lura Hills, Katy Bekken, Mandy Michaeli, Mariah Lumly, Tawny Young, Victoria Ellis, Maya Butler, Cassidy Robinson and Sabina Seyster.