By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer
DOWNEY – La Serna High School made sure that it wasn’t going to be denied its championship this time.
After falling short in last year’s final to Downey in overtime, the Lancers played a stellar second half and went on to defeat Cabrillo of Lompoc 3-0 in Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 5 girls soccer championship game at Warren High School.
Michelle Reed, Moriah Earley and Jordann Sanders each scored a goal for Del Rio League champion La Serna (23-4-3), which captured its first CIF-SS divisional crown since 2008.
“It’s a great feeling,” La Serna coach Tessa Troglia said. “We came together in the second half. It was nice to see the camaraderie and to see them stay committed and focused. I’m very proud of their commitment and leadership.”
Cabrillo, which took second place in the Los Padres League, fell to 16-8-4.
After a scoreless first half, La Serna took control in a matter of minutes in the early stages of the second half.
Reed started the Lancers’ scoring when her attempt beat Conquistadores goalkeeper Kiara Miller on the right side. Reed’s goal happened in the match’s 52nd minute.
Earley doubled La Serna’s advantage just five minutes later when she scored by launching an attempt from about five yards on the left side.
Sanders then supplied the punctuation mark when she closed the game’s scoring with less than a minute remaining.
After last season’s disappointment, the Lancers felt elated about capturing a CIF-SS ring this time around.
“Words just can’t explain it,” said Reed, a sophomore midfielder. “We played hard. Last year built my fire. With the goal, we got it in our mind that it was not over and that we still had a chance. I’m proud of my girls.
“We just stayed focused until the end.”
Sanders, a senior midfielder, added, “It’s a great feeling – it’s so unreal.”
Saturday’s final marked La Serna’s third victory in two seasons over the Conquistadores. The Lancers defeated Cabrillo in last year’s divisional semifinals and then defeated them again, 1-0, in a nonleague game earlier this season.
The Lancers will now set their sights on the CIF State Southern California Regional soccer championships, which start this week. Pairings will be announced today.
“Our first game of state is (probably) on Tuesday,” Sanders said.
“Hopefully, we could go far there. If not, we still had an amazing season.
“I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the team next year. I wish them luck.”
Troglia said the Lancers learned from last year’s final-round loss to Downey.
“I think our girls thought we were the better team,” she said. “(Downey) was a relentless, hard-working team and we weren’t really used to that. We learned a valuable lesson. Even if we are winning, we are working extremely hard.”