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Vikings jockey for the lead

Posted: January 21, 2014 10:57 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2014 10:57 p.m.

The Valencia girls soccer team capitalized on rival Canyon’s mistakes, and because of it the Vikings survived on Tuesday evening at Canyon High School.

Behind an own goal and a rocket of a shot from Vikings midfielder Sammy Simon, Valencia moved to 3-0 in Foothill League play and captured its 10th straight victory with a 2-1 outing against the Cowboys.

“We know we have a target on our back,” said Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell. “We were just able to score on mistakes, but they made us play hard. Everybody is coming hard at us. Everybody.”

That was definitely the case on Tuesday, as Canyon (10-5-2 overall, 2-1 in Foothill League) came in with an opportunity to take an early edge on the Vikings in the Foothill League standings with a win.

As hard fought as the contest was, the first score came on a flukish own goal, when a cross from Valencia forward Kristen Fowble deflected off a Canyon defender and ended up in the back of the net at the 30-minute mark of the first half.

The Cowboys didn’t take long to respond, as Canyon senior Mari Kneisl redirected a 40-yard cross from teammate Kendall Bietsch right into the back of the net just five minutes later.

After entering halftime with the score tied, Canyon came out as the aggressor in the second half, as its midfielders and forwards were determined to keep the ball deep in Valencia territory for the majority of the game’s final 40 minutes.

But Valencia (14-1-1, 3-0) only needed the smallest break to go its way on Tuesday, and four minutes into the second half the Vikings intercepted a pass at midfield and turned it into a goal immediately.

Scoring for the Vikings on the counterattack was Simon, who rocketed the ball into the back of the net on a one-on-one with Canyon senior goalkeeper Katelyn Martinez.

“We showed both that we can hang with them and that one or two plays can really change the outcome of the game,” said Canyon head coach Derek Rusk. “We are already thinking about Saugus.”

Valencia looks to keep its hot streak alive on the road at Hart on Friday.


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