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Varsity 12, Mission Viejo 10

April 12, 2013

The trip down Marguerite Parkway is not that far, but there are times when stepping onto the turf at Mission Viejo High School can feel like a foreign environment. For the Trabuco Hills Mustang Varsity, the story that unfolded on Thursday evening was a familiar tale.

mission logoThings started quickly for the Mustangs. Following a speedy run off of the opening draw, Alex Miller drew a free position and promptly put her team ahead, 1-0. At the other end of the field, Cyrena Malkowski then turned away a point blank shot and the confidence started flowing. Melanie Leong followed that up with a pretty goal after a great pass from Hannah Redwine. With the Mustangs shorthanded due to injuries sustained in the overtime win on Tuesday night – Becca Ransom out with an ankle injury, Delaney Shelton out with a concussion, and Jackie Huse nursing a leg injury – the line-up looked a little different as Coach Scott Leong looked to find the right mix.

Initially, it was defense by committee, with Miller, Kelsey Tapia, Cheyenne Ochoa, and Niki Neeley all exhibiting great tenacity in keeping the Diablos away from goalie Cyrena Malkowski’s crease. Neeley’s performance again stood out, asserting herself on every ball carrier, fighting for and winning loose balls, and even drawing a charge to force a turnover. But the magic did not last as a turnover off of a bad pass resulted in Mission Viejo’s first goal. After another score tied the game, Kendall Derbyshire buried her first goal of the game to regain the lead.

No strangers to physical play, Mission Viejo picked up their aggressiveness and put the Mustangs on their heels momentarily. Neeley was the only player to respond with a strong-yet-legal presence of her own, letting the Diablos know they would not be able to push anyone around. Two quick goals put Mission Viejo out front, but a yellow card halted their momentum. Hope Dodd promptly found the back of the Diablo net. In the center circle, it was becoming apparent that the Diablos’ 6-foot tall center was a problem as she was dominating the majority of the draws. And with Mission Viejo settling into their offensive rhythm, they once again seized the lead. Megan McIntyre scored but Mission Viejo bounced right back when the Mustang defender could not keep up with the Diablo attacker. McIntyre answered with a brilliant heads-up play from the side of the net, snagging a rebound off of a saved shot and immediately depositing it behind the Diablo keeper. Mission Viejo was pressing back, but Neeley and Madison DuMond were working really hard on defense and, with Malkowski’s efficient efforts behind them, the Diablos were denied. Soon after, Dodd netted her 2nd goal to finally put the Mustangs back into the lead. Janelle Phillips picked up the ball after a turnover off of the ensuing draw and was able to take it down and beat the Mission Viejo net minder as time was running down. Halftime found Trabuco Hills leading, 8-6.

Once play resumed, so did the aggressive play. Phillips soon found the back of the net for her 2nd goal to stretch the lead to 3. Playing another strong game, Miller was all over the field, doing a great job on both ends. A Trabuco Hills yellow card gave the Diablos some new life as they were able to score 2 quick goals, but the Mustangs intentionally slowed things down and, after an extremely patient offensive set, Phillips was able to score her 3rdconsecutive goal. After another Mission Viejo score, the pace began to increase again. Dodd did a very nice job of slowing things back down, eventually spotting Derbyshire breaking toward an opening in the Diablo defense and delivering a pass for a quick shot and score. The Diablos clawed back to get the deficit back to 1, but then a chaotic sequence around the Diablo net finally produced a loose ball that Melanie Leong scooped up and subsequently beat the Mission Viejo defense and goalie to give the Mustangs a little breathing room.

Regaining possession again, Trabuco Hills was able to slow the pace down even further and eventually run out the final 3 minutes of the game for a 12-10 South Coast League victory.

Record: 8-4-2, 3-2 South Coast

Next: Hosting Dana Hills Tuesday

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