Lancers blank El Rancho in league opener
WHITTIER – After starting the season with an 8-0-2 record, the La Serna girls soccer team ran into a tough stretch, losing five of the next seven games.
Three of those losses came in the tough 14th Annual North Orange County Classic.
However, the ship was righted in a big way as the Lancers, who scored 11 goals in the last two games, blanked visiting El Rancho, 5-0, in the Del Rio League opener Tuesday (Jan. 7).
Leading the way was senior midfielder Liz Vazquez with two goals, followed by single goals from sophomore MF Valerie Cuellar, junior MF Sophia Ramirez and senior MF Jiselle Padilla.
With the win, the Lancers improved to 10-5-3 overall and 1-0 in league, while El Rancho suffered only its second loss of the season for a 9-2-3, 0-1 record.
“We have expectations for this team this season,” La Serna coach Chris Carroll said. “I think we played well the whole first half.
“I didn’t know what to expect from El Rancho because they had that good record.”
El Rancho came into the game ranked eighth in CIF-Southern Section Division 6, while the Lancers are just outside the top ten in division 3.
The Lancers, who last won a CIF-SS title in 2013 with current assistant coach Penny Roman in goal, controlled the first third of the half before finally taking a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute on Cuellar’s goal from the left side of the goal into the right corner of the net. The score was set up by a nice crossing pass from Ramirez.
Eight minutes later in the 23rd minute, Vazquez scored the first of her two consecutive goals in the first half.
Vazquez gave La Serna a 2-0 lead, as she picked up a loose ball and fired it past the El Rancho keeper.
“We always tell the girls to finish (the play),” said Carroll, of Vazquez’ goal.
Just two minutes later, junior MF Melea Early had a corner kick that went directly to the Dons’ keeper, who dropped the ball and Vazquez was there again inside the box for the score and the 3-0 advantage.
“I saw the ball coming and I felt I just had to be there in case the goalie drops it,” Vazquez said.
“Our mids (midfielder) were really strong (Tuesday) and it’s a good start (in league).”
Early, whose sister Mariah was also on that 2013 championship team, had a chance late in the half to score on a direct kick that went right over the wall set up by El Rancho. It hit the crossbar and bounded away.
The Lancers began the second half with the same intensity as the first and again controlled the play.
La Serna scored two more times in the half, on goals by Ramirez (Assist by Alexa Valdez), directly in front of the goalie in the 62nd minute and Padilla, as she picked up a loose ball and scored.
La Serna has a bye on Thursday and will host Bishop Amat (4-1-3) in a non-league game on Saturday (Jan. 11). Game time is 11:00 am.
Cal High tops Whittier
In the other DRL opener, Cal High shutout Whittier, 2-0, to improve to 14-1-1 overall.
The Condors scored twice in the first half on goals by senior captain Kiana Jones and senior Jasmine Lozano. Senior MF Brisa Aldama and junior MF Haley Lopez each picked up assists for the Condors.
Santa Fe (2-5-1), which had a bye on Tuesday, will host Cal on Thursday.