Prep Preview: Paloma Vly @ Lakeside

I’m covering the Menifee Paloma Valley-Lake Elsinore Lakeside girls varsity soccer game today for The Press-Enterprise. The best part of this assignment is getting a look at senior Mackenzie Akins, Lakeside’s scoring dynamo.

THE LOW DOWN:
The Wildcats (7-10-1 overall, 6-2-0 Sunbelt) can close to within a game of first place with a victory today. An amazing feat considering this team lost eight of its first nine games (the other was a draw). Coach Nikki Wiesner’s side is really battling stay in second place, however, following a 2-1 loss on Friday, Feb. 3 to Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon. That defeat places utmost importance upon today’s game. Taking a result from Lakeside, to whom the ‘Cats lost 2-1 on Jan. 20, would almost assure them of a No. 2 seed when the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs begin next week.

The Lancers (13-6-4 overall, 8-0-0 Sunbelt) have already clinched a share of the league title, and can clinch the title outright with a victory today. Senior forward Mackenzie Akins is having a record-setting season, scoring an average of more than 1.5 goals per game. Her season has been so good (37 goals and 11 assists in 22 games) that she eclipsed 100 career goals when she scored five times in a 7-1 win on Friday, Feb. 3 over Menifee Heritage, the same day she set the school record for goals in a season with 35, topping the 34 goals Diandra Cardenas scored in the 2008-’09 season. Cardenas scored 91 goals in her four-year varsity career; Akins now has 103.

STARTING XIs:
Paloma Valley 
— GK: Nicole Smith; D: Lauren Dorr; Alexis Lepe; Kaitlyn Johnson; Chloe Atkins; MF: Summer Furzer; Genaiah Gutierrez; Erica Sundale; Melody Gonzalez; F: Krista Meza; Jessika Velasco.

Lakeside — GK: Michelle Vazquez, Sr.; D: Kingsley Martinez, Sr.; Mica Snell, Sr.; Gladys Baltazar, Sr.; Brianna Reese, Soph.; MF: Bailey Bowe, Sr.; Irais Ramos, Sr.; Monica Cuevas, Jr.; Tiffany Flores, Jr.; F: Mackenzie Akins, Sr., Brittany Reese, Sr.

THE DIFFERENCE:
With the sort of offensive advantage Lakeside is currently exploiting, the difference is clear: Mackenzie Akins. She’s become one of the most prolific scorers in Inland Area history, and on a nine-goals-in-her-last-two-games tear that is setting the Sunbelt League on fire.
PREDICTION: Lakeside 5, Paloma Valley 1

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