DOWNEY -- The battle to determine the nation’s top girls’ soccer team lived up to its billing and, in the end, it was Aliso Niguel beating Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga, 3-2, Saturday afternoon in the Southern California Regionals Girls Division I championship at Justice Stadium on the campus of Warren High School.
Freshman Lauren Miller had the game-winner in the 66th minute, capping a furious rally that stunned the nation’s top-ranked squad, according to ESPNHS.
“I didn’t bat an eye,” Aliso Niguel co-head coach Randy Dodge said of his team’s three-goal flurry early in the second half. “Without a doubt now, we’re the national champions for the Winter season.”
Aliso Niguel (22-1-5), which avenged its only loss in the CIF-Southern Section final, initially struggled to build rhythm, getting flagged for offsides four times in the first 10 minutes. And despite falling behind 2-0, the Wolverines never really lost control of the match.
Lindsay Doyle cut the deficit in half in the 56th minute before netting the equalizer four minutes later.
“That first goal just got us back in it,” Doyle said.
Los Osos forward Ifeoma Onumonu reached the 30-goal plateau. She struck in the 24th minute thanks to a fortunate bounce, taking advantage of failed clearance. The ball deflected off teammate Sydney Johnson, and Oregon State-bound keeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme tried leaving the box but Onumonu wasted no time, depositing a bullet shot into the lower right corner from 20 yards out.
Onumonu scored again six minutes into the second half, cleaning up a giveaway inside the box. Los Osos (25-1-3) nearly made it 3-0 a few minutes later but Prudhomme was heroic with a diving save in a one-on-one situation.
Then the tide shifted.
“Our team has a tendency to come back,” Prudhomme said. “We created chances to win it. I think my save got us a little excited.”