Prep Impressions: Jan. 10, 2012

I covered the Temecula Valley-Murrieta Valley girls varsity soccer game for The Press-Enterprise on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, and came away thinking the Golden Bears showed better technical ability than most boys their age.

Temecula Valley’s ability to push the ball forward through midfield and onto the feet of their strikers was exciting to watch for its one- and two-touch skill.

The over-lapping combinations Kourtney Kutscher and Jordan Fransescon, or Kutcher and Jordan Magnin, or Francesco or Magnin, or countless others was the type of offensive soccer that should be taught everywhere.

That white streak of light is the ball, ultimately heading onto the foot of Temecula Valley's Rachel Witz, who scored the game's second goal in a 2-0 victory over Murrieta Valley on Wednesday.

The Bears began their onslaught near the end of the first half, and after a couple of goals before halftime, it took gritty determination from Murrieta Valley’s central defense to keep the game at 2-0.

The Nighthawks’ Hayden Kelley and Carson Dukes were especially commendable for the work they did in keeping the scoreline from getting out of hand. Dukes, stout between the posts, finished with nine saves.

I switched sidelines, from Murrieta to Temecula, at halftime and the differences in the tone of both sides is noticeable. The Nighthawks, of course, are coached by Harry Hutcheson. A sweet and affable fellow in his late 40s or early 50s, Hutcheson dresses the part of an EPL manager, and his side has a business-like feel. In contrast, the Golden Bears are coached by Amber Young. A fiery and focused coach, Young brings energy to everything, and her side has an electric spirit.

Hutcheson’s style has worked lately, but the energy of Young and the Bears, at least on this night, was more than anything the Nighthawks could clasp.

Murrieta Valley coach Harry Hutcheson:
“We came into the game knowing they were going to move the ball around well. There a possession team. No, we weren’t fatigued. We made our runs. You saw how many chances we had in the second half. It was a game of two halves. They had a couple of chances in the second half but Carson came up big, again. Unfortunately for her we gave up a couple of soft goals in the first half. I think when you look at Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley, the championship is going to go through those two teams, with Great Oak also part of the mix. It’s gonna be tight. This league’s always tight. Nobody’s gonna run away with it. It’s going to be one point, two points or a tie like it was last year. This is one of the stronger teams they’ve (Temecula Valley) had the last few years. They’re a good team and they played strong. The girs will remember that you don’t give them second chances. They move the ball around quick, and that was evident. I think we can move the ball just as quick as them, and handle the business that needs to be handled.”

Temecula Valley coach Amber Young:
“I think that for us, I was surprised, our energy started a little low for league. It doesn’t usually play out that way but I thought, energy-wise, we were low. I thought our midfielders, we kind of sat back, kinda feeling them out rather than putting the pressure on. And once we got the goal, all of a sudden we turned it on, and our energy stepped up. Midfield started winning every ball, and they we just kind of controlled play, kicking the ball around. Fortunately, it was us scoring a goal that woke us up. Sometimes it’s the other way around. We didn’t give up a goal. I didn’t think we gave up many dangerous opportunities, really. defensively, they were really solid. I told them, ‘You gotta play like you’re up 2-0.’ We don’t believe in the score goes back, 0-0. Play with the confidence that you’re up 2-0. Know that you’re in control of this game, and you have dictated that they’re going to have to come out here and score goals on you. We’re not going to change our style of play. We were pressing for more goals.”

Temecula Valley junior Becca Cartmill:
“We wanted more goals in the second half but it’s OK. We’ll play them again, get more. It’s great; second-hardest team we’re going to play, hopefully. This being our first win in league shows that we can pretty much take it. We’re gonna take it. Win league and stay strong. Keep our possession strong, and just play as a team together.”

COMPLETE RESULTS:
Stats…………..TV…at…MV

Goals……………….2………….0
Shots on goal…..21………….7
Fouls………………12…………11
Corner kicks……..4…………4
Offsides……………2………….1
Possession………67………..33
Yellow cards……..0………….1
Red cards…………0………….0
Saves……………….4………….9

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