Both the Fountain Valley and Estancia high school girls’ soccer teams are young this season, and Class of 2018 graduates from both programs showed up to Tuesday’s nonleague match to root for their respective alma maters.
Former Barons center back Ally Bebout watched Fountain Valley compete, while former Estancia forward Lexi Osso and midfielder Tabytha Smith did the same for the Eagles. Osso and Smith, who were on the Santiago Canyon College women’s soccer team that won the California Community College Athletic Assn. state title on Sunday, passed the ball around at halftime.
Although Fountain Valley is young, the Barons still wore the Eagles down at Estancia High. The visitors dominated the action in the second half.
Junior forward Summer Khalil scored in the 52nd minute, assisted by senior midfielder Chantelle Sanchez, as Fountain Valley claimed the 1-0 victory.
Sanchez, who signed to play with UC Irvine last month, controlled the midfield for Fountain Valley (2-0-1), along with junior Alyssa Rubio in more of a defensive midfielder role. Junior Samantha Escobar and senior co-captain Samantha Valdez also help the Barons in the midfield position.
“Most of our midfield is playmakers, so we can pass the ball around a lot, make lots of through balls,” Sanchez said. “It’s really nice. We play more direct, as opposed to last year. We switch the ball a lot more.”
The first half was fairly even, as Estancia (0-1-0) had its share of chances. Junior forward Desiree Mendoza did her best to use her speed to get open, often working in conjunction with junior midfielder Wendy Millan.
Mendoza, last year’s Orange Coast League Offensive MVP and a co-captain with junior defender Ana Ruiz this season, appeared to have a good scoring chance in the 31st minute. But Fountain Valley’s Ashley McNeill came back to steal the ball as Mendoza fell to the ground.
“Hey, what was that?” Estancia coach Josh Juarez asked the referee, who replied, “No sir, no foul.”
Fountain Valley had a great chance in the 47th minute, after a corner kick from the right side. Jackie Rodriguez and Khalil both had shots deflected in the box, and Abigail Edwards’ follow-up attempt went off the crossbar.
The Barons would find the back of the net five minutes later, after Sanchez played a short ball to Khalil. Khalil, a first-year varsity player, cut through the middle of the box before burying the shot in the right corner.
“They really took over in the second half in the midfield,” said Juarez, whose team has just three seniors this season. “We lost the midfield, and we struggled to regain it throughout the game.”
Senior co-captain Kennedy Chavez, juniors Taylor Smalley and Aliyah Gordon, as well as sophomore Shelby Giuntoli, anchored the Barons’ defense. Sophomore goalkeepers Jasmine Solorzano (first half) and Bianca Fernandez (second half) combined on the shutout.
Fountain Valley is gearing up for the new Wave League, which includes Sunset Conference newcomer Laguna Beach, which won the Orange Coast League each of the last two seasons. Marina and Newport Harbor also will compete in the four-team league.
“We’re really building focus on league,” said Barons coach Scott Goldman, whose team finished fifth in the Sunset League last season. “Last year we had a tremendous preseason, then we went into league and we struggled … I’m excited about the league season. Change is always good.”
Estancia hosts Sonora in a nonleague match on Thursday at 5 p.m., and both the Eagles and Barons compete in the Best in the West tournament beginning Saturday.