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El Modena Achieves Its First Final


Riding a 12-game winning streak into Tuesday's Southern Section Division II girls' soccer semifinal, El Modena defeated Ventura Buena, 4-2, at El Modena High School.

With the victory, the Vanguards reached the Southern Section finals for the first time.

"It's a first for this school," El Modena Coach Jeff Pearson said. "They've never made the finals. This group has been together three or four years. There's a couple new players. It's great chemistry and the team has gotten hot in the playoffs."

El Modena (22-5-2) opened the scoring two minutes into the match, when Stephanie Esparza and Jill Pearson worked a perfect give-and-go into the Bulldogs' penalty area.

From the right side of the penalty box, Pearson sent the ball back to Esparza in front of the net. She fired a shot at the Bulldog net. The shot was blocked by a defender, but not cleared out. Esparza didn't miss her second chance, shooting past Buena goalkeeper Katie Maxwell.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday February 29, 1996 Orange County Edition Sports Part C Page 8 Sports Desk 2 inches; 49 words Type of Material: Correction
Girls' soccer--The Division II championship game between El Modena and Canyon will be played at 8 p.m. Saturday at Cerritos Gahr High. The site was incorrectly reported in Wednesday's Times. Also, it was Kaylee Whitfield, not Jill Pearson, as reported, who converted the penalty kick that gave the Vanguards a 2-0 lead over Ventura Buena Wednesday.

El Modena's second goal came at the 39th minute mark just after forward striker Nicole Terry was tripped from behind in the penalty box.

Pearson converted the penalty kick to put the Vanguards up, 2-0, at the half.

In the second half, El Modena went up, 3-0, when Kaylee Whitfield scored her 32nd goal of the season. Pearson was credited with the assist.

Buena charged back into the game at the 69th minute of play when forward Kristina Quiroz took a pass from Melanie Montoya. Quiroz slipped past the Vanguards' defense beat Kelly Kersch with a shot to the far post.

Buena scored seven minutes later when Barbara Almaraz scored unassisted.

It would be all the Bulldogs could muster though, as Terry recorded her 32nd goal of the year in the final minute of play.

In the other Division II semifinal:

Canyon 3, Redlands 0--With Canyon leading by one goal in the early minutes of the second half, sophomore Heather Williams' save on Redlands' breakaway came at a critical time in the game and seemed to take Redlands out of the game. Williams finished the game with six saves. Stacie Lopez scored two goals and teammate A.J. Kula scored first for Canyon (16-6-2), which plays Century League rival El Modena in the finals. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 8 p.m. at Canyon High.

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