High school sports

Late rally falls short for Mariners

ALYSSA CAMPOS (6, in white) scored the Mariners’ first goal in CIF-SS Division 1 semi-final game Saturday against Villa Park (Orange County Tribune photo by Christopher Abdelmalek).

By Christopher Abdelmalek

This sports season for high schools has been a weird one, to say the least. The fact that there was a season at all it is a bit of a miracle

The Pacifica High girls’ soccer team has been having a miracle season all its own, reaching the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 1 on Saturday. However, the Mariners ran into a Villa Park team that was having a dream season as well and lost, 5-3 at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange. The Spartans rolled into the finals largely on the strength of their senior star, Aaliyah Farmer.

The game started off with both teams fighting for control of the ball and pace of the game. The Mariners, led by senior Averee Campos, never really seemed to get the edge in the first half. Struggling to reach 50/50 balls, struggling to cover the open player, but most of all, they struggled to hold on to the ball once they had it.

Roughly halfway through the opening half, Farmer made her first goal of the game, putting the pressure on the Mariners right away. “Aaliyah is very, very good,” said Coach Mike Sutton. “We didn’t do the right job on her.” Shortly after that, Campos made her mark on the game, scoring on a beauty from just outside the 18-yard box to tie the game up at 1-1 mid-way through the first half.

No less than five minutes later, the Mariners would get a phantom call against them which set up the Spartans deep in their opponent’s half which led to the second goal for Villa Park, this time by Tiana Salazar. With the Mariners a bit confused and thrown off guard by that, they continued to play out of sync the rest of the half, which proved to be costly for them.

NATALIE OCA (21) battles Pyper Slattery (22) for the ball in the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinal game on Saturday.

Farmer took advantage of the situation and once again on a phantom call, the Spartans were set up with a corner kick, that allowed Farmer to put in her second goal of the half. Five minutes later, a missed offsides call on the Mariners hurt them more than it would of if it was called on them, froze the entire team as the flag went up, however, the whistle was not blown and Farmer put in her third goal of the game with just under five minutes left in the first half.

Mere seconds later, after the kickoff, the Mariners just seemed puzzled as to whom they should be marking and left Farmer open again to receive a pass up the middle which she converted for her fourth and final goal of the game. At this point, it was 5-1 and a rout seemed imminent.

However, Campos was able to draw a penalty late in the first half and scored on a penalty kick to bring the Mariners slightly closer at halftime 5-2. The second half seemed more in the favor of the Mariners. They controlled the ball, the pace of play, and the aggression. They would eventually score on a free kick from roughly 50 yards out, but in the end, it was all too little too late.

Villa Park (16-0-3) will move on to the finals where they will face Harvard-Westlake next week in the CIF DIV I championship. The Mariners finish the season with a 14-3-1 record.

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