Despite a strong wind, the Capistrano Valley and Santa Margarita girls' soccer teams each gave solid arguments Tuesday for the right to the county's No. 1 ranking.
The result was a 1-1 tie at Santa Margarita High. Santa Margarita, 3-0-1, is top-ranked in the Orange County coaches' poll and Capistrano Valley (4-1-1) is ranked second.
The Cougars, who seemed to have a few more weapons up front, scored first. In the 25th minute, freshman Janelle Hillseth dribbled the ball toward the goal from the left wing. Then she slipped it on the ground in front of Eagle goalkeeper Riki-Ann Serrins to the far post.
Capistrano Valley held on to their 1-0 lead for most of the game and even began aggressively attacking toward the end, as Santa Margarita began to show signs of wear.
In the final minute, however, Ami Aylor sent a corner kick high in front of a crowded goal area. It bounced off two heads before Santa Margarita's Keri Kennedy-Weber headed it in for the tying goal.
The goal came with only seconds left on the referee's watch. Both coaches downplayed the importance of the game, saying it was too windy and too early in the season to gain much meaning from it.
"It was a fairly decent effort for both teams at this point in the season," said Santa Margarita Coach Chuck Morales.
The game also showcased several of the county's most talented players. Cougar Liz Delgado gave the Eagles trouble with her excellent ball-handling skills near the goal and teammate Kim Abbamonto controlled the midfield. For the Eagles, midfielder Maresa Zanetti and defender Susie Mora were key.
Said Cougar Coach Hamid Sedehi: "It was a fun game [with] two good teams banging it out left and right."