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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

El Camino Real Reaching New Heights After 0-0 Tie

Girls' soccer: Despite lackluster play against Granada Hills, Conquistadores closer to first league championship.

February 02, 2001|CHRIS SHAFFER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

GRANADA HILLS — The play of El Camino Real High wasn't inspiring Thursday, but it was good enough for the Conquistadores to close in on their first league title in girls' soccer and end Chatsworth's championship reign.

El Camino Real tied Granada Hills, 0-0, and needs a victory or two ties in its final two games, against Chatsworth and Taft, to win the West Valley League championship.

Chatsworth has won the league title the last 12 seasons.

"I really think [we played poorly] because we knew we pretty much just need to beat Taft to win league," said El Camino Real defender Mimi Shvartz. "We knew that if we tied we'd be fine. Maybe we played too relaxed."

Even if the Conquistadores (14-1-2, 7-0-1 in league play) lose to Chatsworth on Monday, they will be in a good position.

Taft is winless in league play and has been outscored, 42-4.

The Conquistadores defeated Taft, 7-1, Jan. 22.

"We are going into the Chatsworth game wanting to play hard and have fun," Shvartz said. "We'll be a little more relaxed knowing there isn't as much pressure. We can go out there and have fun."

The Conquistadores didn't look like league champions against the Highlanders (16-6-2, 4-3-1).

Aside from a few moments of brilliance by forwards Kandice McLaughlin and Sammy Spencer, the Conquistadores struggled offensively and were shut out for the second time this season.

The first was a 1-0 loss to Granada Hills in the Monroe tournament last month.

"I think we were frustrated because we couldn't get the ball in the net," said midfielder Megan Porter of El Camino Real. "They were clearing the ball out too far. Every time the ball came rolling to them they would kick it away. They were playing more in the air as we wanted to play on the ground."

The Conquistadores had many opportunities, including eight corner kicks. The best chance came in the 68th minute when Spencer's shot from the top of the 18-yard box was punched out of play by goalkeeper Hypatia Runice.

The Highlanders were limited to two shots on goal.

"If it wasn't for the wind we would have never been worried," said defender Jessica Harris of El Camino Real.

"The wind could have carried the ball over my head and they might have had a chance for a breakaway."

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