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Canyon Secures Spot in Playoffs

Posted: February 6, 2008 1:27 p.m.
Updated: April 8, 2008 2:02 a.m.
It was not the ideal situation.

The Canyon girls soccer team was without its sweeper Milan Cabrera, who received two yellow cards in a game against West Ranch on Feb. 1. Her sister, Malaya, another starting defender, was at an Olympic Development Program showcase in Florida.
Cowboys head coach Keeli Paden had to use a quartet of defenders that had never played as a group together this season Tuesday, facing Valencia in a game that could secure a playoff spot for the Cowboys (15-5-4, 5-2-2)
But it wasn't a problem.
The defense posted a shutout for a 1-0 Canyon win over the Vikings, securing at least one of the playoff spots in the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs.
The Cowboys will play Hart in the Foothill League finale on Thursday to determine who will finish in second place and who will take third. Saugus wrapped up the first outright Foothill championship in program history with a 4-0 win over Golden Valley on Tuesday.
Valencia (13-4-3, 3-4-2), which was also short-handed, was in a must-win situation to stay in the playoff hunt and is now eliminated from the postseason.
For Canyon, Jessica Luevano played fullback along with regular starting right fullback Shannon Seidenglanz, while Katie Russ played sweeper and Katherine Hanson started at stopper.
All of them have experience in defense and Russ plays sweeper for her club team, but the group had not worked as unit at any point this season until practice this week.
"The defense stepped up and played well," Paden said. "Jessica Luevano and Shannon had their best games of the year. Katie did a good job of settling everyone back there."
Maybe it was fitting then that the lone goal of the game was started by a Canyon defender.
Ten minutes into the game, Luevano cleared the ball out of the backfield, with a perfect ball for forward Molly Hall. Hall outran the Vikings defense and with no one in front of her but the goalkeeper, she calmly put away a shot past keeper Jessica Change for the score.
"I was just getting it out of there," said Luevano of her accidental assist. "I didn't want to cause any trouble."
For the Vikings it was the team's third straight loss. They were without Kristin Bos and Hannah Hicks, who were also at the ODP event in Florida.
They were further short-handed because Nicollette Smith was unable to play after receiving a red card in the previous game against Saugus.
Head coach Sean O'Connell had 12 field players and one backup goalkeeper for Tuesday's contest and that dwindled down even more when Makayla Hambek had a shin injury that she suffered right before halftime. She did not return.
"We needed to win this game, flat out," O'Connell said. "We had our chances, we just ran out of bullets."


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