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Valencia girls soccer: Vikes try to learn on fly

Young Valencia team falls to Westlake High

Posted: December 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.

A team like Valencia girls soccer might have to learn things the hard way early in the season.

Head coach Sean O’Connell hopes it will pay off later.

After losing 12 seniors from last year, the re-stocked Vikings struggled to get into an offensive rhythm during a 3-0 loss to Westlake on Wednesday night at Valencia High School.

"We’re just trying to figure it out," O’Connell said. "The first two games we were trying one kind of offensive system and tomorrow we’ll probably try another one."

The best scoring chances for the Vikings (1-1) came in the first half when heavy winds were at their back.

Valencia used the advantage to control the midfield, but a corner kick and five total shots before the break didn’t do the trick.

Meanwhile, the Warriors (1-0) got on the board in the final minutes of the first half when Sarah Ishikawa dribbled the ball between two Valencia defenders and fired a left-footed shot into the back of the net from just inside the 18-yard box.

Frequently throughout the game, Valencia subbed in the entire bench — six players — to give every player a chance to play in the new system.

In all, the Vikings have five sophomores and a freshman on the roster along with six juniors and just five seniors.

"We’re just getting used to playing together," said midfielder Megan Berkery, a senior and a third-year varsity player. "We have a few things to work on still."

In the second half when the wind advantage shifted to Westlake, so did the momentum.

Just over five minutes into the half, Westlake’s Kelsey Kimball launched a free kick from 25 yards out that curved into, and back out of the hands of freshman goalkeeper Nicole Joseph to make it a 2-0 game.

At that point, it was an uphill, upwind battle for the Vikings, who continued the constant line changes and managed just two more shots to total seven in the game.

The Warriors finished with eight, but took advantage of another one in the 66th minute when McKenna Masters assisted an Amanda Apelian goal after it was deflected off Joseph on the right side of the box.

"I think we gave a good account of ourselves in the first half," O’Connell said, mentioning that he wasn’t concerned about the result against a difficult Westlake team which won the Marmonte League last year.

"We’ve got plenty of talent, it’s just preparing them for league," he added, "and I do that with a brutal preseason schedule."

The gauntlet continues today when the Vikings host a third straight Marmonte League team in as many days, this time against Thousand Oaks.


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