Eagles' duo makes right call

COSTA MESA — Heather Flores and Jackie Freiberger are onto something just in case soccer does not work out. The duo might want to dabble in fortunetelling.

The two correctly predicted the outcome of Estancia High's Orange Coast League opener Tuesday and who would score. They picked themselves to find the back of the net and the host Eagles to beat Laguna Beach, 2-0.

"Jackie and I, we were just like, 'We're going to score. That's our goal,'" said Flores as she and Freiberger did not disappoint the team.

"We even predicted the score."

The Eagles needed Freiberger and Flores to be correct in order for them to defeat Laguna Beach for the first time since Feb. 7, 2008.

Estancia also remembers last season, when the Breakers spoiled the Eagles' back-to-back league title hopes. A tie against Laguna Beach late in the regular season ended the Eagles' championship run.

Beating the Breakers at the start of league this season was a good way for league favorite Estancia to get over what Coach Jessica Gatica called a debacle finish to last season.

"Had we beat them, we would've been league champion," said Gatica, whose team finished in second place in league behind Calvary Chapel.

"This was a huge victory for us as this is redemption for last year."

The extra motivation fueled the Eagles (7-3-2, 1-0-0 in league) at the start.

Laguna Beach (5-4-2, 0-1-0) was on its heels in the first half, having to defend the much quicker Eagles and a handful of corner kicks.

Time and time again Gatica saw Estancia come up short. She pleaded on the sideline, asking her players to finish.

No one was able to put away a scoring chance. Freiberger and Flores tried, but their shots went either straight toward Laguna Beach goalkeeper Ryan Bakkum or wide of her right post.

The pre-game predictions by Flores and Freiberger did not look so great during a scoreless halftime.

"The main focus was finishing," said Freiberger, a senior striker headed to Cal State Dominguez Hills. "[Gatica] was encouraging us, saying that we were doing a great job, but we just couldn't finish."

Six minutes into the second half, Freiberger got her first chance.

In the box, from the right side, she unleashed a shot. The ball hit the side of the net, and was out of play.

The same thing happened to Freiberger nine minutes later. She just smiled, knowing she and the Eagles had to continue to create opportunities.

One came the following minute.

Flores set up Freiberger with a cross in the box. Freiberger gained possession on the left side, and with no defender nearby, she easily found the back of the net this time. She gave Estancia a 1-0 in the 56th minute.

There went Laguna Beach's best shot at tying Estancia again. Coach Bill Rolfing said he would have been happy with a draw.

The Eagles wanted another goal, to put the match away. The defense, led by sweeper Emily Leahy and Ashly Romero, did their job protecting keeper Maria Fernanda Perez and thwarting the Breakers' attack.

The offense kept the pressure on, even after Freiberger crashed to the turf with eight minutes left. Her right calf cramped up after colliding with a Laguna Beach player.

Freiberger laughed it off and rose to her feet. She stayed on the field. She had to be there to see Flores fulfill her end of the prediction.

One of the smallest players came up big in the 77th minute for Estancia. She put away a rebound to end any hope the Breakers had of tying the Eagles again.

"I was really confident that I was going to score there," Flores said. "I just really wanted to."

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World