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Esperanza Uses Back Door to Win


Esperanza's Mike Murphy had a premonition, and so did Capistrano Valley Coach Ron Willms.

"We talked about No. 3 [Murphy] coming in the back door at halftime," Willms said. "And he came in the back door."

Murphy came flying in to one-touch teammate Mark Rodieck's header and give second-seeded Esperanza a 1-0 overtime victory over Capistrano Valley in the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals Friday at Capistrano Valley.

The play began with Brandon Clewett's throw in to Rodieck, who back-headed to the middle of the goal.

"Usually, I don't run in," Murphy said. "But I just had a feeling."

The goal was only Murphy's fourth of the season, but it couldn't have come at a more opportune time--with seven minutes left in the first 20-minute overtime.

"I was wondering who was going to step up," he said. "It happened to be me. I was just at the right place at the right time."

Rodieck said the play was planned.

"That's how it's supposed to work," he said. "We've scored like 10 goals on it this year. Someone's supposed to be there when I head it back and this time, there was somebody there."

Esperanza (24-2-2) will play Redlands in Tuesday's semifinals. For the second consecutive year in the playoffs, Capistrano Valley (9-8-5) lost to a Sunset League team on its home field.

"There was definitely a lot of pressure on us," Clewett said. "We're the No. 1 team in Orange County and that's pressure enough. We're expected to play well and we wanted to at least reach the semifinals. And we said, 'God, we can't lose to another county team.' "

But the Aztecs came close to losing. They were outplayed in the first half and for part of the second half before outshooting Capistrano Valley, 5-2, in overtime.

Earlier in the season, Esperanza beat Capistrano Valley on penalty kicks.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Clewett said. "They get their fans out here and Capo has a rowdy crowd. I really thought this would come down to penalty kicks."

In another Division I game:

Westlake Village Westlake 1, Santa Ana 0--Westlake scored the winning goal off a corner kick 60 minutes into the game. The goal was only the seventh given up by Santa Ana (18-3-2) this season. Eddie Conteraras had eight saves in the game, including four break-aways.

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