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Sage Hill girls’ soccer avenges league loss against Pacifica Christian Orange County

The Sage Hill School girls’ soccer team had plenty of opportunities when it played Pacifica Christian Orange County in a San Joaquin League match on Jan. 9 at Vanguard University.

Coach Mike Hammond said his Lightning had 18 shots. Just one of them went in the back of the net during a 2-1 loss.

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A little more than two weeks later, the Lightning got another crack at the Tritons on Thursday, senior night.

Sophomores Sofia Lowe and Lexi Van Den Bosch scored second-half goals as Sage Hill defeated Pacifica Christian 2-0, moving into sole possession of second place in the league with two matches to play.

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A tie for second place still appears likely, unless Sage Hill (6-3-2, 4-2 in league) can upset league-leading St. Margaret’s (6-0 in league) at home on Wednesday night. The top three teams in the league are guaranteed postseason berths.

Hammond was pleased with his team’s play in the second match against Pacifica Christian (13-3, 3-3), which is ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division 6.

“That’s the way we need to finish the season,” he told the Lightning after the match.

The match was scoreless at halftime but Lowe scored in the second half. Senior defender Hannah Woodworth’s free kick from 30 yards out, near the left sideline, went to the right post, where Lowe was able to stick it past Pacifica Christian goalkeeper Larky Hadley.

“It was a really big deal that we won this time,” said Woodworth, a co-captain who is part of an all-senior back line that also includes co-captain Maya Jaffe, Alice Warden and Karli Davis. “Especially losing on the away field, being able to be home and have it being our senior night and the last time playing them, getting a win was really exciting.

“I think we were more confident this time. I don’t know if it was our senior night, or being on our home field and having more support.”

Sage Hill's Anisha Punia, Sofia Lowe and Lexi Van Den Bosch, right, celebrate a goal against Pacifica Christian Orange County during a San Joaquin League match on Thursday.
Sage Hill's Anisha Punia, Sofia Lowe and Lexi Van Den Bosch, right, celebrate a goal against Pacifica Christian Orange County during a San Joaquin League match on Thursday. (Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Tritons coach Brandon Gonzalez said that Hadley, who played well with eight saves in the second half, entered at halftime after normal starting keeper Jo Snider (three saves) exited with a finger injury.

One of Pacifica Christian’s best chances came in the 62nd minute, when Brooklyn Motske’s free kick found the head of freshman Leila Bahnsen in the box. But Jaffe was able to clear the ball off the goal line.

Two minutes later, Hadley was able to save Grace Robinson-Dorn’s shot from the left side, but Van Den Bosch was there to put away the rebound.

“I give it to [the Lightning],” Gonzalez said. “We’re the new kind of private school, and it’s their senior night. They wanted to play. We had a game plan of sitting back and letting them come at us, and we would get them on the counter. In the first half, it worked … but in the second half we kind of fell asleep. It’s not that the girls didn’t work hard, I just feel like everybody was off just a little bit. Collectively, that hurt us.”

Nicole Motherway and Lainey Cauffman split time in goal for Sage Hill, each making two saves.

Sage Hill plays at Rowland Heights Southlands Christian on Monday at 3:15 p.m., while Pacifica Christian has a make-up match at Saddleback Valley Christian on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The Lightning hope to give the rival Tartans a good match on Wednesday to close out the season. Last year, they lost 1-0 in overtime on their own field. St. Margaret’s beat Sage Hill 3-0 in the first meeting this season on Jan. 15 at the Tartans’ field.

“We just want to beat ‘em,” Jaffe said.

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