SCCS girls soccer carries momentum through first round of playoffs

Santa Clarita Christian teammates Viviana Soler(22) and Sydney Bozwell (9) celebrate Soler's goal in the first half against Le Lycee at Central Park on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Santa Clarita Christian strides confidently into the second round of the Division 7 CIF-Southern Section Girls Soccer Championships after a decisive 10-0 shutout against Le Lycee Thursday night at Central Park.

“It’s honestly a great feeling because we went into this game not really knowing who this team was and where their standings were,” said SCCS head coach Lacey Lehman in a phone interview. “It was really cool to come out and put the ball away really quickly. (We) had some great plays and were on top of (our) game today.”

The Cardinals (11-4-1 overall) continued their run of dominance against their opponents and scored in bunches. They tacked on six goals before halftime and netted their last four in the final fifteen minutes of the match.

Sydney Boswell continued to shine in her incredible junior campaign. She logged another hat trick Thursday night, scoring three goals and assisting on another.

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“Today she played one of her best games,” Lehman said. “She had to overcome a yellow card and mentally that was a big challenge for her. Seeing her be able to overcome that hump was really cool and she was able to put the ball away.”

Boswell may have been a huge part of the win, but Briley Phelps took the player of the match honors. The freshman sensation recorded her second straight hat trick with three goals and two assists in Thursday’s contest.

“She had a phenomenal game,” Lehman said. “Her abilities for her to take a shot and her ability to feed Sydney on the outside is crazy. She can assist and find her teammates, and when it comes down to it, she can strike that ball and put it in the back of the net.”

The Soler sisters, Viviana – a sophomore – and Sophia – a freshman – were the other two goal scorers for SCCS. Viviana recorded two goals and two assists and Sophia netted two goals, as well.

Being sisters and playing on the same side of the field gives the duo a slight advantage. Teammates build chemistry over time, but no one knows someone better than their own blood.

“Having sisters on a team is a big asset,” Lehman said. “They know how each other plays the most. Just having that chemistry and understanding of your teammate is super important. They bring that to the field without having to talk about stuff and they just know what the other is going to do.”

The defense had an exceptional game, as well. Senior goalkeeper Catalina Sonnenberg recorded yet another clean sheet on the season. However, this one she could not do herself. She owes her shutout goalkeeping to senior Alyssa Hopewell this time around.

A shot got by Sonnenberg and was primed to be the Lions’ only goal of the match. Hopewell decided that could not be the case. In an incredible display of athleticism, she performed a backwards bicycle kick to clear the ball before it could cross the goal line and preserve the shutout.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Briley Phelps (10) drives to the goal in the first half against Le Lycee defender Pauline Chupin (32) at Central Park on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I think as a senior that was a pivotal moment for her,” Lehman said. “For her to make that save for the team and be able to keep that zero on the scoreboard gave her a lot of confidence.”

Lehman said she was truly proud of her entire backline as they have been able to play as a cohesive unit as of late. Freshmen Avery Babikan and Lexi Kostjuk are the other two cogs to the three-piece machine.

“Those two are freshman and stepping up,” Lehman said in an expression of pride in her developing defense.

Having a young defense, and a young team overall, gives her confidence in the future of her program.

“She’s been leading my backline and she’s a freshman,” Lehman said of Babikan. “She’ll be a great asset for the next few years that we have her.”

However, before the Cardinals can worry about the next few years, they have another playoff game to think about. They use adversity they faced in the past to inspire themselves to persevere against the next few teams they will face.

“Moving forward I’ve been telling the girls each game is going to get harder and harder,” Lehman said. “I keep referring to our game against Heritage where we came back from down 2-0. I keep reminding them that’s what they’re capable of. That’s the biggest comparison they can view they’re top play to.”

The Cardinals continue the Division 7 playoffs on Saturday. They play at home again versus Milken Community at Central Park.

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