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Grant Does It on 3rd Attempt : Girls' soccer: Lancers defeat San Pedro, 1-0, take City title on Hufanga's second-half goal.


VAN NUYS — Grant High became the second school in girls' soccer's six-year history to win the City Section title as it beat San Pedro, 1-0, Saturday at Birmingham High.

The Lancers (12-3-2) celebrated their school's first title in three final appearances with bursting bottles of apple cider and a ceremonial drenching of Coach John Robb.

The previous times Grant made it to the finals, including last season, the Lancers lost to five-time City Section champion Chatsworth.

"It didn't matter what team we met at the final, we were going to win," said a jubilant Robb.

Grant's second-half goal by sophomore Ana Hufanga snapped San Pedro's winning streak at 10 matches and marked the Peninsula team's only loss in City competition this season.

Despite the low score, Grant dominated throughout, ending the first half with seven shots on goal while holding the Pirates to only two tries. The midfield was contained and Lancer goalkeeper Kristen Kiley-Boynton made only one save in each half.

Junior striker Nicole Bucciarelli was Grant's mastermind and at times seemed like the only player on the field. During the first half she took two shots on goal and set up three scoring chances. She followed with four more shots in the second half and set up Hufanga's goal.

"Last year, we had kickball going on. This year we had a lot of ball control," said Bucciarelli, who ended the season with 43 goals.

Four minutes into the second half, Bucciarelli drove the ball from the midfield to the right side of the Pirates' goal box.

She found Hufanga at the top of the box with a low pass between two defenders.

Hufanga trapped the ball with her right foot, made a fake while switching the ball to her left foot and blasted it past a diving Victoria Brucker.

The acrobatic Brucker made 11 saves. Without her at the goal mouth, the Lancers probably would have scored more.

Still, San Pedro (11-6) had trouble penetrating the back line, which was fortified by Marrica Pichaikul and team captain Zulma Leiva.

In the boys' final that followed, Belmont (10-1-2) upset top-seeded Bell (12-1-1), 1-0.

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