Defending champion Bishop Amat’s 4-1 victory over Chino Hills sets up a dream Division 3 final this weekend against Claremont, the third-ranked team in the country and 1-0 winner over St. Lucy’s. After losing to St. Margaret’s in last year’s D-6 title game, San Dimas loses in semifinals to St. Margaret’s again, 1-0
Inland Insider Tom Kiss’ highlight video and interviews from Amat’s 3-1 win over Chino Hills.
By Fred J. Robledo
Chino Hills will have to settle for advancing to its first girls soccer semifinal in the school’s history.
Defending champion and fourth-seed Bishop Amat, looking as dominant as ever, overcame an early deficit and overwhelmed the visiting Huskies 4-1 in Tuesday’s CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals to advance to either Friday or Saturday’s championship at a site to be determined against national power and second-seed Claremont, a 1-0 winner over St. Lucy’s.
After Chino Hills’ Dayna Garcia scored off an Amanda Bell assist in the 19th minute, Amat’s reigning divisional player of the year and two-time area player of the year April Juarez went to work.
Juarez chested down a pass from Yazmin Montoya, turned and fired in the 21st minute to tie the game. Then Juarez took a long throw-in from freshman Natalie Tillman, and with her back to the goal, somehow freed herself to fire the go-ahead goal in the 28th minute for a 2-1 lead.
Juarez also set up the third goal just before half. She was tripped in the penalty area to set up a penalty kick and Nayeli Requejo stepped up and finished it in the 39th minute to go up, 3-1. (To continue click thread).
Bishop Amat 4, Chino Hills 1
Claremont 1, St. Lucy’s 0
St. Margaret’s 1, San Dimas 0
Requejo also scored in the 50th minute as a result of a long throw-in, and that was more than enough to lift the Lancers to their second straight title game.
“I thought we took advantage of our opportunities,” Bishop Amat coach Ruben Gonzalez said. “They’re a good team but I don’t think they’ve seen a team like us, especially with a player like April.”
Juarez’s two goals gave her 25 for the season and 117 for her career. Juarez is likely headed to USC in the fall and is as gifted as anyone with the ball at her feet and finishing opportunities.
“She’s a special player,” Gonzalez said of Juarez. “It’s once in a long, long time you’re able to coach a player like that. She’s fantastic in tight spaces and can create goals as easy as she finishes them.”
After Chino Hills knocked off Bonita 5-1 in the quarterfinals, Gonzalez said limiting the Huskies’ opportunities was crucial, and they did so by making life difficult on their two best attackers, junior midfielder Meilessah Rangel and sophomore forward Ashley Gonzales.
“We used (Requejo) to shadow (Rangel) in the middle to reduce her getting balls to their forwards, then we shadowed their best finisher (Gonzales) with (Natalie) Rivas.
“We figured if she (Rangel) didn’t get a lot of balls up top they wouldn’t have many opportunities to score.”
Both teams grew more physical as the game wore on, but defensively, Amat disrupted everything the Huskies tried to do.
“They played that deep sweeper and our girls weren’t use to that,” Chino Hills coach Tom Hummer said. “We’re use to facing a flat four and their defense is good, you can’t take anything away from them, they’re the defending champions.
“But I thought we could have scored a couple more goals and made it interesting early on, but it didn’t happen.”
Amat’s control of the midfield could be attributed to Montoya as well. She’s a ball-winner who thinks defense first.
Montoya was the first player to grab the championship plaque and wave it in front of fans after winning last year’s title.
But to do it again, the Lancers (22-2-4) have to get past once-beaten Claremont (26-1-4) — the third-ranked team in the country according to Maxpreps.
“Few teams can say they won back-to-back championships and now that we’re here, we want to do it again,” Montoya said. “We know they’re good, but we have to treat it like it’s just another game and play our game. We know how it feels to be in the championship and what it takes to get it done.”
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