The Los Alamitos High girls soccer team opened their quest for a fourth CIF championship with a 3-0 first round win over Long Beach Wilson on Wednesday afternoon on the Griffins field.
The second seed Griffins, who improved their overall mark to 22-0-5, will advance to play Hart of the Santa Clarita Valley in Friday’s second round action. Hart, champions of the Foothill league and owners of a 20-2-1 record, defeated El Dorado 1-0 on Wednesday. A coin-flip gave Los Al the home field advantage.
The Griffins got on the board in the 14th minute when defender Jayden Newkirk put away a corner kick to the back post by Analisa Gjonvich. Wilson made things difficult for Los Al, sitting back in a suffocating defense which always saw two midfielders ready to double team the Griffins leading scorer, Tabitha LaParl, whenever she touched the ball. But the quickness and ball skills of all the Griffins on the field, especially playmaker Colby Barnett and wings Maddie Reid, Alyssa Mendoza, and Teryn Newkirk who made a lot of sideline runs, earned a lot of corner kicks for Los Al and forced the Bruin defenders to do a lot of energy-consuming chasing all match.
This eventually wore down Wilson and while they rarely gave LaParl good looks at the net, it created openings which Los Al finally took advantage of just past the midway point of the second half.
In the 62nd minute, Alyssa Mendoza scored off a cross from Barnett, and five minutes later LaParl, again surrounded by two Wilson defenders, poked a short pass to Khalia Gathright who caught the Wilson keeper too far off her line and made her pay with a chip shot from just inside the 18.
The Griffin defense, anchored by Paige Johnson and Jayden Newkirk made it a fairly easy day for goalkeeper Reezyn Turk. The Griffins recorded their 20th shutout, breaking the school record of 19 which had stood since the 1990-91 season.