Women's soccer team rallies for tie against Santiago Canyon

Women's soccer team rallies for tie against Santiago Canyon

Irvine Valley's women's soccer team didn't get a win, but the Lasers sure earned some momentum, a positive result and a little bit of history with a 1-1 draw against nationally-ranked and Orange Empire Conference title favorite Santiago Canyon at home on Tuesday afternoon.

Santiago Canyon fell out of the United Soccer Coaches Junior College Division III poll this week, but was ranked 13th in the nation in the preseason poll two weeks ago.

Santiago Canyon had a record of 21-1-1 a year ago and reached the third round of the finals of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

The Hawks have won two state championships, have been state finalists five times and are 13-time defending OEC champions.

Irvine Valley picked up its first points of the season with the draw. IVC went into Tuesday's contest 0-5-0 so far this season.

The tie was also Irvine Valley's first positive result against the Hawks since Oct. 9, 2001 when the Lasers beat Santiago Canyon, 2-0.

"I'm absolutely pleased with the way the team played today," Irvine Valley coach Joe Supe said. "It has taken some time this season to get to this point where we are both mentally and physically ready. Now we have to keep it up."

Irvine Valley dodged a few bullets in the contest, including having a header by Santiago Canyon's Abigail Suter hit off the post early in the contest.

IVC's best change in the first half came in the 14th minute on a deep shot by Marissa Banos that Hawk keeper Jessica Neighbors had to dive to knock away.

Irvine Valley freshman goalie Samantha Carter was also up to the task, making a nice save near post on a shot by Reann Artim.

But Santiago Canyon (3-1-1) took the lead just before the end of the first half. Ofelia Sosa turned with the ball near the top of the box and lofted a shot over the outstretched hands of Carter and into the back of the net in the 36th minute.

Santiago Canyon stayed on the attack early in the second half with six shots in the opening 12 minutes, including having Tori Phillips bang a strike off the post in the 57th minute.

Carter continued to keep IVC in the game with several more top notch saves.

And then in the 80th minute, Irvine Valley took advantage of an opportunity. Sophomore defender Yvette Belman placed a perfect pass on a corner kick to the back post where freshman forward Jade Stewart finished a header to tie the score at 1-1. It was Stewart's first goal of the season.

"We've actually been working hard on our set pieces," Supe said. "And both Jade and Savanna Hayes are both good with their heads."

Santiago Canyon had a great chance to take the lead back in the final minutes, but Cassie Soto's one-timer at an open net sailed over the top.

IVC held on for the tie. Carter finished with eight saves in goal for the Lasers.

"I knew that they could do it," Supe said. "We just need to continue to believe and show that we can play with these top teams. We have the talent to do it and physically we are getting better. Hopefully this builds confidence that we need."

Irvine Valley plays again on Friday, hosting San Diego City in a nonconference match at 3 p.m.