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Edison girls’ soccer storms back to beat San Clemente

The teams had to battle the elements as much as each other.

Lightning caused a delay in the fifth minute of the Edison High girls’ soccer team’s nonleague season opener against San Clemente on Thursday night.

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The heavy rain stopped just before game time, but a flash of lightning pulsed through the sky early in the first half, leading the head referee to order everyone off the Edison turf field for at least 30 minutes.

Before lightning struck on the Chargers’ home field, though, San Clemente scored on an own goal in the second minute.

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Play would resume following the 30-minute delay and Edison dominated, pouring it on for a 6-1 victory to open the season with a win.

“I think going off for 30 minutes was kind of a wake-up call for us,” said senior midfielder Malia Walencewicz, who tallied three assists. “We had a break to talk it out, get over the situation, move forward and come out strong.”

Edison has eight seniors this season. Four of them are team captains, including Walencewicz, center back Serena Starks, striker Rachelle Elve and midfielder Alexis Komisza. Walencewicz returned to the team after missing last year due to playing academy soccer for her club team, LAFC Slammers.

“I was super-excited to come back senior year,” she said.

The Chargers (1-0) showed a varied attack against San Clemente (1-1), even as the heavy rain resumed early in the second half. Juniors Emily Crownfield and Morgan Roberts, both of whom are first-year varsity players, each scored twice.

Senior Cecelia Roghair added a goal, and Elve finished off the scoring for the winners.

After Roghair scored her goal, she returned to the bench and grinned about the torrential conditions.

“That was the craziest thing I’ve ever played in,” she exclaimed.

Komisza and Brenna Cerri added assists for Edison, which had trouble finishing off scoring opportunities last year but did not have a problem with that Thursday.

“We’ve grown up a lot,” Edison coach Kerry Crooks said. “We had kind of an interesting mix last year. This year, I think we have a little bit better team chemistry than last year … I think they don’t mind who shines. They just want to do well.”

Crooks said the Chargers are also a speedy team, and they showed that despite the elements.

Starks anchored a defense that also included players like Jordan Needham, Lucy Granger, Makayla Solorzano and Cerri. Sophomore goalkeeper Kayla Martin, another first-year varsity player, made a few saves, batting the ball out of danger a couple of times on a San Clemente corner kick.

“She did a good job,” Starks said. “She’s just a little young, so she has to mature a little, but I think she does a great job back there.”

Not only is Martin a sophomore, but the backup goalkeeper, Alyssa Plotkin, is a freshman.

“They’re the babies in the back,” Crooks said. “That’s kind of what we’ve talked about, that we have to protect the babies. Kayla played great. She’s so sick right now. She needs to go home and eat some chicken noodle soup.”

Edison returns to action Monday when it opens play in the Aliso Cup. The Chargers start pool play at home with a 5 p.m. match against Upland. They continue pool play Tuesday, when they play at El Dorado at 3 p.m.

After Thursday’s match, the Chargers can certainly say that they are battle tested.

“If the new players are able to come in and really make a difference, then that’s huge for us,” Walencewicz said.

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