Freshman’s golden goal lifts Huntington Beach girls’ soccer over Edison in Surf League opener
Most people started to leave the Surf League girls’ soccer opener at the end of regulation Tuesday night.
Huntington Beach High athletic director Melissa Vandenbosch hurried over to the stands to let the fans know the situation.
“It’s not over,” she yelled. “We’re going to overtime!”
The confusion was only momentary. Oilers freshman Sienna McAthy did not make the fans wait too long.
McAthy scored the golden goal in the second minute of overtime, lifting Huntington Beach to a 1-0 win over rival Edison in the league opener at the Oilers’ field.
Huntington Beach (15-2-1), ranked No. 7 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, appears to have one of its strongest teams in recent years. The Oilers are aiming for their first league title since the 2015-16 season.
“Our preseason has helped us to really define what type of team we are,” Huntington Beach coach Raul Ruiz said. “It’s allowed us to play tactically different, two or three formations. But I think because the girls apply themselves, there’s more that believe that this could be their year to win league again. It brings positive energy to the whole group, and I think we’re doing really well.”
McAthy’s goal came after a cross from the right from fellow freshman Solana Van Enoo. Edison junior goalkeeper Chloe Pajaro was there at the right post to deflect the ball, but it went to the foot of McAthy, who stuck it in.
McAthy, a midfielder, spent much of the match connecting with the Oilers’ USC-committed junior striker Jaiden Anderson. But like Anderson, she also has shown a knack for finding the back of the net. Tuesday’s goal was her 11th of the season.
“It’s been surreal,” McAthy said of playing a key role as a freshman. “It’s been so fun. I love the girls. Everyone’s so nice. It’s just been the best high school experience I could possibly ask for.”
Huntington Beach beat Edison (5-6-4) for the second time this season. The Oilers also won 3-0 in the finals of the Best in the West Winter Soccer Classic.
Last year, the teams split two meetings in the last week of the regular season, but Edison won a tiebreaker match to earn the second place in league designation and an automatic trip to the playoffs.
“Every team’s special in our league, but there’s nothing like that rivalry between Edison and H.B.,” Ruiz said. “That’s what makes it unique.”
Edison coach Kerry Crooks has a younger team this year, with just three seniors. But the Chargers did well in Tuesday’s match, which was fairly even in the run of play.
Edison’s best scoring chance came early in the second half, when a cross of junior Harlee Thomas found sophomore Olivia Green in the box. The shot sailed over the cage.
“She’s a sophomore, she’s just not used to playing at this speed of play,” Crooks said. “It’s a little bit faster, but she’s getting there ... We had our chances. We’re really young, I have quite a few sophomores who start. Huntington’s one of the top teams in CIF, so for them to compete, that’s a bright future right there. I think we had just as many great chances on goal as they did.”
Defensively, the Chargers often marked Anderson with Crooks’ daughter, sophomore Riley Crooks, who is on the same Slammers FC club soccer team as Anderson. Edison junior center back Hailey Clingan, who recently committed to UC Irvine, also stood out with her play, and Pajaro made six saves.
Huntington Beach senior goalkeeper Reese Doyle made three saves. A defense that also included senior center back Charlotte Landis, seniors Isabelle Walsh and Hannah Petteys and junior Julianna Upstill helped the Oilers pitch their eighth shutout of the season.
“It’s good to be a part of this team, carry that pride,” Doyle said. “We haven’t had this opportunity, had this ranking in a while, so it’s good to be a part of that.”
Edison plays at Newport Harbor on Thursday, while Huntington Beach travels to defending league champion Los Alamitos.
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