Corona del Mar High junior girls’ soccer player Megan Chelf is not someone you want to mess with on the pitch.
Chelf was knocked down early and often in Saturday’s Back Bay Invitational showcase match against Lakewood Mayfair. It was the final strike — to the face at the very end of the match — that earned a Mayfair defender a red card.
Just before that, though, the University of Arizona commit burned the Monsoons.
Chelf scored off a corner kick from senior Katharine Caston in stoppage time, helping the Sea Kings earn a dramatic 2-1 victory at Newport Harbor High.
CdM (3-0-1) dominated scoring chances throughout the match, but still had to battle for the win by scoring two goals in the final 10 minutes. Nathaly Silva gave Mayfair (0-1-1) the lead with her free kick goal in the 53rd minute.
CdM got even in the 61st minute, when junior Mia Ferrentino scored a rebound goal off Chelf’s shot from the right side of the box. Chelf then scored her eighth goal of the season in stoppage time, after Caston’s corner kick from the right side. The ball deflected in off her left thigh.
“We all fought, and it felt so good to get that second goal,” Chelf said. “Especially in one of the first few games, it was great just to see that we all keep digging until the very last minute.”
Ferrentino, who played at Mater Dei as a freshman and did not play high school soccer last season, also spent time at defender but pushed forward in the closing minutes, providing a spark up top. Senior Celeste Wayne and freshman Erin Jones also generated several scoring chances for the Sea Kings.
“When [Jones] gets on the ball and gets her head up, she plays good balls,” CdM coach Bryan Middleton said. “She’s our only freshman [on varsity] this year, which is unusual for us, because I’ll usually put three or four up.”
Junior goalie Giovanna Broderick made a handful of saves for CdM, which also benefited from the defense of players like Caston, sophomores Avery Doherty and Maddy Rosen and junior Sophia Harvey. Rosen created several scoring chances as well, with her speed up the right side of the field.
CdM finished with two wins and a tie in three showcase matches. The Sea Kings beat Kingsburg 4-1 earlier Saturday, behind a hat trick from Chelf and a penalty-kick goal by Emiko Tachiki.
The win was costly, as Middleton said that senior forward Natalie Hueston fractured her right wrist and could be out for multiple weeks. Hueston, a Cal commit, is in her first year playing high school soccer. Like Ferrentino, she played academy soccer last year with the LAFC Slammers club.
With eight goals already in four matches against quality competition, Chelf could pick up the slack.
The Sea Kings are also currently missing senior defender Alyssa McKenzie and junior defender Alex Ianni with quadriceps injuries.
Middleton said he hopes that his team can get healthy by the start of Surf League play, which is Jan. 10 at Edison.
Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos are the other teams in the Surf League.
“It’s going to be so tough,” Middleton said. “It’s going to be exciting, fun, tough games. If we get everyone healthy, we’ll be able to put [Caston] at forward … and we’ll be able to push Avery, who played phenomenal defense this weekend, up into the midfield or forward position too.
“If we get everyone healthy for league, we’ll be able to compete with Los Al and Edison.”