Prep Preview: Mater Dei @ Santiago
I’m covering the Santa Ana Mater Dei-Corona Santiago girls varsity soccer game tonight for The Press-Enterprise, pe.com & @PEcom_preps. First kick is set for 5 p.m. PT.
The best part of this assignment is it’s a matchup of CIF-Southern Section preseason No. 1s.
THE LOW DOWN:
The Monarchs (6-2-2 overall) started the season red shot with win in their first five games but have cooled off recently with just one win and two draws in their last five games. Last season’s CIF-SS Division 1 champions return 12 seniors from that team, making them prohibitive favorites to repeat, but their league doesn’t rate as highly as usual so this game looks to be their toughest of the new year until the postseason begins. Senior MF Lauren Markwith is a player with a reputation for scoring goals.
The Sharks (7-4-3 overall) opened 2016 by forging a 1-1 draw on Monday at Chino Hills. This season has been a struggle for results, but the quality of competition has a lot to do with it. Wins over Riverside Poly and Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon have been tempered by losses vs. Vista Murrieta and San Juan Capistrano JSerra Catholic. Replacing GK Paige Simoneau, last season’s CIF-SS Division 2 Player of the Year, has been a primary focus of the preseason so it will be interesting to see who Coach Mike Fleming puts between the pipes for the team’s most high-profile nonleague game of their campaign.
THE STARTING XIs:
Mater Dei — GK Madison Puliafico (Sr.); D Brittany Wiehe (Jr.); D Maggie Frei (Sr.); D Kate Hampton (Jr.); D Lauren Berbiglia (Sr.); MF Paige Laphen (Sr.); MF Cassie Soto (Sr.); MF Delaney Kitching (Sr.); MF/F Lauren Markwith (Sr.); F Hailey Hopkins (Jr.); F Claudia Nordheim (Sr.)
Santiago — GK Natalie Morrell (Sr.); D Brooke Reed (Sr.); D Mikayla Schachtell (Sr.); Taylor Romaine (Sr.); MF Raven Sweeney (Sr.); MF Emily Gehlbach (Jr.); MF Megan Maeda (Sr.); MF Avery DeWitt (Jr.); F Jill Olguin (Sr.); F Katie Jones (Sr.)
The team that scores first and has to defend under pressure has the most to lose.
THE FINAL SCORE:
Santa Ana Mater Dei 1, Corona Santiago 1