Canyon opens up playoffs with shutout win 

Canyon’s Kiana Madera (7) go for the ball in the first half of a Foothill League match at Valencia High School on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Canyon defeated Valencia 1-0. Chris Torres/The Signal

Canyon Cowboys girls’ soccer snapped its two-game losing streak on Monday with a Division 4 wildcard win over the hosting Knight Hawks. 

The Cowboys won the game 3-0, registering the team’s sixth clean sheet of the year. 

Canyon (8-7-1) didn’t take over the game immediately but coach Leonardo Neveleff was pleased with how his team’s chances and possessions developed throughout the game. 

“The first 15-20 minutes, it was an even match,” Neveleff said in a phone interview. “Our girls gained confidence and took over little by little. The first goal was a beautiful combination between the forwards that set the tone that we could win the game if we keep playing with that attitude and confidence.” 

Cowboys forward Bailey Williamson worked the ball past two Hawk defenders, drawing the centerbacks out of position. Williamson then hit Taylor Arietta for the opening goal. 

Canyon scored again and took a 2-0 lead going into halftime, thanks to a booming free kick goal from Jilliana DiDomenico. 

Knight fought back with everything in the second half, putting more players up front. However, the adjustments left just two Hawk defenders on the backline, which led to another Canyon goal. 

DiDomenico fired in another free kick but this time Knight goalkeeper Veronica Lopez was ready. Lopez made the save but couldn’t gather the batted ball before Cowboys senior Hudsen Fast found the ball and tapped in a left-footed goal for 3-0.  

Canyon’s defense played well and handed Knight its first scoreless loss this season. 

Neveleff knew his team had it in them but could see the energy surging from the team on the quick bus ride to Palmdale. 

“I think they were ready from the beginning of the morning,” Neveleff said. “Going on the bus and seeing everyone together, you could see the energy. The team energy was flowing in the air; They were ready to go. Their mentality was totally different from last week. When you get to the playoffs everything changes.” 

Canyon will remain on the road and need another defensively sound performance when the team faces the Ventura Cougars (18-4-1). 

Ventura has plenty of scoring options and has only conceded 13 goals on the season.  

The Cowboys can pick up some serious momentum and confidence with a win. Canyon was set to head to Ventura on Wednesday at 5 p.m. 

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