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Varsity 12, Oak Park 6 (LA/OC)

March 9, 2013

DEE-FENCE!

That might sound like an odd praise for a team that scored 12 goals en route to avenging a difficult tie against Oak Park at the Rose Bowl a week ago, but that is what stood out in the Mustangs’ 12-6 victory over the Eagles in the 1st game of the OC/LA Challenge at Laguna Hills High School on Saturday. As the game wore on, it was that determined effort that sustained the victory.

Trabuco Hills started quickly, with goals by Kendall Derbyshire, Hope Dodd, and Melanie Leong. After a time-out with the score 3-1, the Mustangs kept the pressure on, with Leong netting her 2nd of 3 for the game and Marina Sandoval scoring on a beautiful misdirection shot over a very good Eagles goalie. It was late in the first half where the Mustang defense really started to shine as Oak Park attempted a push before the break but found their opportunities to be minimal. Credit Cyrena Malkowski for another very solid game in goal, making several key saves and cutting off passing lanes, as well as a number of midfielders who dropped back to give terrific support. Dodd closed out the scoring for the half with her 2nd of the game, making the score 6-3 at the half.

The Lady Mustangs again started strong after the break, with Megan McIntyre scoring on a terrific second effort and Leong picking the corner from a very tough angle. Not long after McIntyre scored her 2nd of 3 goals for the game, an injury time-out seemed to shift the momentum to the speedy Eagles squad that boasted 9 Freshmen in the starting line-up. In the midst of scoring 3 unanswered goals, Niki Neeley once again stepped up to make her presence known with stellar defensive work and solid physical play.

With notable performances by Kelsey Tapia and Madison DuMond, the defense as a whole stiffened and would deny the Oak Park offense the rest of the way, limiting shots and front-of-the-net presence that frustrated a desperate Eagles squad. As a direct result, the Mustang offense came alive again, with Janelle Phillips scoring on two consecutive shots and McIntyre adding some insurance. Malkowski continued to shine as well, owning her crease and aggressively protecting her lead.

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