CIF PLAYOFFS: LAHS Girls Soccer advances to semis via PKs; Water Polo and Boys Soccer play tonight

The Los Al Girls soccer squad celebrates after its win in penalty kicks over Mira Costa Tuesday night.

The Los Al Boys Soccer and Girls Water Polo teams take center stage in today’s CIF playoffs, but they have a tough act to follow. 

The Griffin Girls Soccer team got a special Valentine’s Day present Tuesday evening, winning their CIF quarter-final match thanks to some late heroics by the team’s underclassmen. 

Sophomore Viviana Zacarias scored on a direct kick in the 80th minute to tie the match and send it to overtime.  Then freshman keeper Avarie Gonzales anchored the Griffin defense for two scoreless OT periods and then saved three penalty kicks to secure the victory which advanced them to Friday’s CIF Division I semi-final match against Oaks Christian.

Viviana Zacarias (left, from a 2022 match) scored on a direct kick in the 80th minute to send the game into overtime.

The two teams were tied at halftime 1-1, with Los Al scoring on a goal by senior Sanaa Guyness from an assist by fellow senior Katie Piburn. 

Mira Costa scored and it appeared that goal would hold up until the 80th minute when freshman Abby Nuez sent into a floater just outside the box where another freshman Zamorah (Zee) Malinoski was battling two Mira Costa defenders for position. The pass drifted to the left and Malinoski ended up on the ground. The official whistled the foul, setting up Zacarias’ game-tying kick.

In the PKs, Griffin goals were scored by senior Kaylee Noble, Zacarias and another freshman, Zamorah Malinoski.  Mira Costa converted its first two attempts but Gonzales saved the last three tries to preserve the win.

Gonzales had nine saves during the match. 

The Griffins, who improved their season record to 17-6-5 will now host Oaks Christian from Westlake Village in Friday night’s semi-final.  The game will be played at 5pm on the Griffins pitch. 

Oaks Christian advanced by upsetting No. 1 seed Santiago 4-2.  The Lions, the champions of the Marmonte League, improved their season record to 19-2-1, with one of those losses being a 2-1 setback to Los Alamitos in the best of the West Tournament in mid December.  Since then they have won 12 straight.  They defeated Millikan on PKs in last week’s Division I opening round. 

Villa Park and Santa Margarita will play in the other semi-final.  Villa Park downed Redondo Union 2-1, and Santa Margarita defeated San Clemente 2-1 in overtime.

The Los Alamitos Girls Water Polo team has their work cut out for them in today’s CIF semi-final playoffs.  They are facing Orange Lutheran who is not only the No. 2 seed in the Open Division, but has beaten the Griffins in all four meetings this year, outscoring them 43-24. 

Can defensive master Dave Carlson devise a system to limit the high-powered Lancer offense.  He has surprised teams in the past, and he seems to have the players who can make the adjustments.

The match will be at 7pm as the second half of a doubleheader at Foothill HS. The first game pits top-seed Foothill against No. 4 Laguna Beach.  

The four teams are also the top four at the top of the latest OC Register water polo rankings.

The Griffins Boys soccer squad takes its 15-6-3 mark into its match against Canyon High of Anaheim on Wednesday.  Canyon, which finished in second place in the Crestview League, has a 14-6-5 mark.  Game time at Los Al HS is 5pm.   The winner advances to a semi-final match on Friday against the winner of the Newport Harbor-Long Beach Cabrillo match. 


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