Huntington Beach girls’ soccer rallies, hands CdM first loss
With the Corona del Mar High School girls’ soccer team leading by a goal at halftime, Huntington Beach made a change.
The Oilers’ long balls weren’t working, and their deep shots weren’t getting by CdM’s sophomore goalkeeper Alex Boserup.
So Huntington Beach head coach Raul Ruiz changed the point of attack to a false nine, a style of play where the striker plays between the opponent’s defensive lines, dropping back to collect passes deeper than a traditional center forward’s role. The move worked.
Just three minutes into the second half, Huntington Beach equalized, then scored again 14 minutes later, as the Oilers earned a 2-1 victory that snapped CdM’s unbeaten run of 13 games in the Surf League opener on Tuesday night in Huntington Beach.
“When you come into the Surf League, every game’s going to be a battle,” CdM head coach Bryan Middleton said. “It’s like CIF quarterfinals every league game.”
CdM (11-1-2) opened the scoring early with a sixth-minute strike from freshman Lilly Borland, who managed to find the back of the net on her second effort after a cross by fellow freshman Isabella Thomas.
Boserup handled constant pressure from Huntington Beach (10-3-4) to keep CdM in the game at the break. The keeper made a number of saves while also coming off of her goal line to claim crosses in the middle of the box. She made a point-blank stop on a header from a corner kick, and then later, Boserup got down to the turf to push a Huntington Beach free kick wide.
But in the 43rd minute, the Oilers broke through. A ball was played over the top of the CdM back line and run onto by senior Kyley Asheim, who patiently allowed the ball to drop onto her right foot for a first-time strike into the top corner of Boserup’s goal.
“No keeper’s going to save that,” Middleton said.
The Oilers kept the pressure up with rapid, one-touch passes to get by the CdM defensive blocks.
“We’ve talked about playing differently up top,” Ruiz said. “Sometimes we play too much long ball, but today the simple give-and-go, quick passing, finding the gaps, open players and we scored twice.”
In the 57th minute, Huntington Beach junior Ashley Fujimori ran across the top of the box on the right wing, then cut back to the center before playing a diagonal pass to junior Hannah Petteys.
She turned with the ball, spinning away from the CdM defenders before finding the ball in front of her just 10 yards from goal. Petteys looked up and picked out the top left corner to put the Oilers ahead.
“Hannah’s been playing like that for us since last year,” Ruiz said. “She’s more involved. She’s taking more responsibility and looking for that challenge every time she steps on the field.”
Petteys had been Huntington Beach’s key player in attack throughout the first half, getting the best looks at goal and sparking most of the Oilers’ attacks down the right side of the field. When she finally scored, it came as a relief after her and her team’s many attempts.
“It was hard in the beginning and then we found it,” Petteys said.
CdM applied pressure to Huntington Beach’s defense in the final 20 minutes of the game in hopes of finding an equalizer to keep its undefeated season intact. In the final minute, senior goalie Riley Urquiza rose up to snag a lofted ball by CdM forward Erin Jones aimed at the top corner to secure the win for the Oilers.
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