Girls' Soccer: CdM moves closer

The steady rain started with about 20 minutes left in the game Thursday afternoon at Corona del Mar High.

Fans scrambled for their umbrellas, but it didn't really affect the outcome on the pitch.

The CdM girls' soccer team was already well on its way to a 6-0 Pacific Coast League win over University. CdM honored its senior class of Kendall Mulvaney, Miranda Stiver, Jayden Smith, Sabrina Roy, Makena Look and Molly Keasey after the game.

The rain let up in time for the senior day festivities. As for the Sea Kings' three-year outright reign atop the league, it remains to be seen if it will extend to four years.

Corona del Mar (9-5-3, 5-2-1 in league) did gain on first-place Northwood (4-0-4 in league), which was on a bye. The Timberwolves have 12 points headed into the final week of the regular season, and the Sea Kings have 11.

The Pacific Coast League awards two points for a win, and one for a tie. Beckman (4-2-2 in league) is in third place with 10 points.

The Sea Kings can guarantee the fourth straight league title with a pair of wins next week. They play Beckman on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Tustin High, then are at Northwood on Thursday.

"Really, I'm not worried about what the other teams are doing," CdM Coach Bryan Middleton said. "If we win out, we win league. We've got to win the next two games, but one game at a time. We've got to make sure we get ready for Beckman before we can look at Northwood."

CdM sure looked ready against University, scoring a season-high goal total and avenging an earlier 2-0 loss on the road to the Trojans (7-11-1, 2-5-1). The Sea Kings did it despite missing two starters. Junior defender Brianna Westrup (leg contusion) hopes to be back next week. Stiver, a senior forward who signed with Oregon State on Wednesday, was out sick.

CdM showed that it still had plenty of firepower, scoring three goals in the first 14 minutes of the match. Early on, Roy played a perfect ball ahead to junior Birkley Sigband, whose shot from the left was blocked. But Smith was there for a rebound goal.

Junior midfielder Shelby Brown scored unassisted on a corner kick in the 10th minute, the ball bouncing off Uni goalkeeper Cameron Diiorio at the near post and in. Four minutes later, Brown struck again, scoring cross-cage from the left side.

"I think everyone was motivated this game," Middleton said. "A little bit of redemption [after] dropping the game at University, and it's senior day ... We had a very good warm-up and they didn't look like they were ready to play. We jumped on them pretty quick."

After CdM sophomore Chloe Rice scored on sophomore Caroline Bethel's assist later in the first half, the hosts had a commanding 4-0 lead.

"Once we started scoring a couple of goals, the floodgates opened," Roy said. "We started clicking more, I think."

The rain started in the second half, but the Sea Kings didn't stop. Roy volleyed in a goal off a Brown corner kick in the 64th minute. Just one minute later, freshman Hunter Gantos gave CdM a 6-0 lead.

The Trojans got on the board near the end. Hanna Ghamari converted a penalty kick and UCLA-bound defender Reema Bzeih scored off a corner kick, but the Sea Kings were never seriously challenged. Mulvaney, Keasey, sophomore Allie Doherty and freshman Christina Venturini all helped to anchor the defense.

"The rain was a bummer, but it was kind of fun," said Mulvaney, a senior goalkeeper who made six saves a day after signing with the University of Denver. "It added to the intensity, I think. It was more fun to score goals in the rain, and get results. They have some strong individuals, and it was nice to get past them ... We definitely scored all the goals that we didn't score [in the first meeting with University]."

Those goals don't carry over to next week, though. The Sea Kings most likely will have to find a way to beat both Beckman and Northwood for the league title streak to continue.

CdM beat Beckman, 2-1, in the teams' first meeting, and played Northwood to a scoreless draw.

"We just have to win," Roy said. "We're going game by game."

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