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Prep Girls Soccer Playoffs: Granite Hills gets revenge
Cougars beat Bonita to avenge painful loss
APPLE VALLEY • Last year, the Granite Hills girls soccer team was eliminated from the playoffs faster than at any point in the previous eight seasons when it suffered a stunning loss to Bonita in the second round at home.
The Cougars got a chance to avenge that loss Thursday afternoon, and they made the most of it. Granite Hills got off to a fast start and beat Bonita 3-1 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs.
“I couldn’t be happier,” senior Lindsay Hutton said. “Just knowing that we redeemed ourselves after last year, it just feels so good.”
Granite Hills coach Mike Bradbury emphasized on getting out to an early lead and not allowing the Bearcats (7-16) to gain any momentum. Bonita took a 2-0 lead last year on the way to a 3-2 win.
The Cougars (16-5-3) heard their coach loud and clear. Michelle Alozie beat two defenders to a long pass and scored on a breakaway in the 16th minute, Katie Saavedra headed in a corner kick in the 21st minute and Alozie broke away from the defense and scored again in the 34th minute to give Granite Hills a 3-0 lead at halftime. Ashlenn Bradbury assisted on the first two goals and Hutton assisted on the final goal.
“Coach said yesterday in our board talk that it was going to be 3-0 at halftime and we actually did it,” Saavedra said. “Revenge is sweet.”
Alozie, the lightning-quick sophomore who scored 40 goals in the regular season, energized the Cougars from the get go. In addition to her two goals, she had multiple other chances and toyed with the Bonita defense most of the game. She’s now one goal behind Kristine Pasek for the single-season school record.
“We knew we weren’t going to stop Alozie, but we could at least try to slow her down,” Bearcats coach Lynsee Bock said. “She’s a great player, she’s amazing. Her speed killed us.”
Granite Hills didn’t score in the second half, but kept up the offensive pressure and didn’t allow Bonita many chances to get back into the game. The Cougars outshot the Bearcats 22-8 in the contest.
“These girls remember how it felt (to lose) and they didn’t like the way it felt,” Bradbury said. “It definitely was a motivator and a factor in the concentration level.”
Bonita avoided being shut out when Lauren Calderaro deflected a shot into the net in the 75th minute.
Granite Hills, which was tied for 10th in the final regular season poll, will face No. 8 Arcadia in the second round Tuesday.
Kyle Glaser can be reached at email@example.com or at (760) 951-6274.