Valencia girls’ soccer makes playoff push, takes down Canyon 

Sofie Rooney (10) from Valencia leaps past Canyon's Siena Salas (5) during Thursday evening’s game at Valencia High School. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Sofie Rooney (10) from Valencia leaps past Siena Salas (5) during Thursday evening’s game at Valencia High School. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Share on facebook
Share
Share on twitter
Tweet
Share on email
Email

Valencia girls’ soccer head coach Brian Miller said he enjoyed watching his team play Thursday night. 

“When everybody puts it together, you get performances like that,” Miller said. 

Hosting the Canyon Cowboys in Foothill League action at Valencia High School’s Dr. Paul A. Priesz Stadium, the Vikings were in a scoreless deadlock through the first 65 minutes of the game. That’s when senior Sofie Rooney chipped a shot over the Canyon keeper from just to the right of the penalty box and watched with excitement as it nestled into the side netting for the go-ahead goal. 

It’s a shot that Rooney said was similar to one that she tried against Castaic earlier in the season, but to no avail. This time, after a couple of weeks of practicing shooting from that acute angle, she was able to get the power and the placement just right. 

“I was in the same spot and I hit that left post, like that left side net,” Rooney said. “And we’ve been practicing that in practice in our shooting drills … I would say I would try to just hit that side net, because a goalie can’t reach there.” 

The Vikings (8-8-1, 5-5-1) were able to hold on for the 1-0 win over the Cowboys (8-5-1, 5-4-1) thanks to that goal and what Miller described as an excellent team performance, putting the Vikings in pole position for a top-four spot in the league and an automatic playoff spot. 

Amelie Hurliman (4) from Valencia passes the ball to another teammate while Canyon's Bailey Williamson (23) tries to block her during Thursday evening’s game at Valencia High School. Katherine Quezada/The Signal
Amelie Hurliman (4) from Valencia passes the ball to another teammate while Canyon’s Bailey Williamson (23) tries to block her during Thursday evening’s game at Valencia High School. Katherine Quezada/The Signal

Valencia held possession for what seemed like the whole game, though Canyon was able to generate a few chances. Most of those came in the first minutes of either half but to no avail. 

The Vikings nearly got the opening goal midway through the first half but it was ruled out as a Valencia player was deemed to be offside. Few chances came the rest of the way as the score remained 0-0 at the half. 

Miller watched on as his team continued to hold possession in the second half, inching closer to the goal with each passing minute, though even he was checking the clock as time was running out to win the game. 

“You feel it’s gonna be one of those days — we hit the post, we scored a goal that was barely offside, their goalie they made a couple of good saves,” Miller said. “You start thinking with 15 minutes to go, ‘Maybe it’s not going to be your day,’ and soccer’s like that. 

Rooney made sure it would be the Vikings’ day, letting a pass from the back line from Ariana Neely bounce over the defenders before putting away the eventual game-winning goal. 

Things didn’t always look like they were going that way, and yet the Vikings stuck with the plan of keeping the ball as much as possible, not letting Canyon sneak away with another win after the Cowboys bested the Vikings, 3-2, earlier in the year. 

Kristal Hernandez (10) of Canyon High School passes the ball to a teammate while Valencia's Juliette Miller (11) tries to block her at Thursday evening’s game at Valencia High School. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
Kristal Hernandez (10) of Canyon High School passes the ball to a teammate while Valencia’s Juliette Miller (11) tries to block her at Thursday evening’s game at Valencia High School. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

“They kept to the game plan, which was to pass the ball and just keep working the ball, and it would come,” Miller said. “But also, the longer the game goes on at 0-0, we know that Canyon are very dangerous. They’ve got some great players, they really do, and you can’t underestimate it … The nervousness is there as a coach, but myself and my other two coaches just said we enjoyed the watching them.” 

Rooney knew how important the game was to the Vikings’ playoff chances. They were only a game ahead of West Ranch in fifth place going into Thursday, and wins in their final two games would seal a playoff spot. 

Consider the first half of Valencia’s mission completed. 

“I think we just wanted this win,” Rooney said. “We have been having some dips in our season and I think this is what we needed to really push the girls to the end.” 

Canyon drops from second in the league standings to third after Saugus beat Golden Valley on Thursday for the Centurions’ sixth league victory, while Hart has already wrapped up another league title. 

Canyon takes on Hart at home on Tuesday to wrap up the regular season. 

Valencia must win in Tuesday’s game at home against Golden Valley, also Valencia’s senior night, to confirm their top-four spot. Otherwise, the Vikings would need West Ranch to lose one of its final two games. 

“I think we’re gonna bring it just because it’s our senior night and it’s potentially our last game playing for us seniors, and potentially our last game of the season,” Rooney said. 

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS