Riverside Poly girls soccer team loses at Portola in Division 4 playoff game – Orange County Register

RIVERSIDE — The Riverside Poly girls’ soccer team was a step slow on Friday night, stopping the Bears from making a leap forward this season.

Three first class goals from Portola in the second half ended Poly’s season with a 3–1 loss in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 Playoffs.

“We had to close their shooters and it seemed like we were behind from the start tonight,” said poly coach Josh Nash. “In every aspect of our game we were a second off, a step too slow.”

Angelina Stedman scored in the last five minutes but it wasn’t enough as Poly (17-6-5) lost at home for the first time this season.

“We always close people. It’s been our game all season,” Nash said. “We were very good at it and tonight we didn’t do that.”

The Bears, back-to-back Ivy League champions, qualified for the playoffs last season but lost in the first round. This season, a first-round win over Oak Hills on Tuesday marked Nash’s first postseason win with the program.

“We worked really, really hard in our last game against Oak Hills and tonight it’s all about missing an early game chance that might change the dynamic,” Nash said.

Poly used his physicality in the first half against Portola but there was little to show as Addison Zyber turned a defender and fired her only shot on goal of the game, a low liner that was intercepted by goaltender Hannah Karabian.

Portola’s Xasive Espinosa hit the back post with a shot as the Bulldogs scored just before half-time, but a second-half goalie switch from Poly created an opportunity.

“We didn’t handle the early pressure well and it took a while to get into the rhythm of the game,” Stringer said.

Portola (15-2-2) opened the second half with shots, but it was a rally from Poly near the top of the box that led to the opening goal as Emma Song fired into the lead over goalkeeper Frida Glass’s outstretched arms.

Less than four minutes later, another poly wrap resulted in another shot on target as Lorel Stringer shoved her laces through a ball that went under the bar for a 2-0 advantage.

“Two shots from the outside almost 25 or 28 yards away and it was just moments where you can see the player win the ball and do his best to put the ball on target with power,” Stringer said.

Poly prevailed to a goal in the 76th minute, with Stedman to make it 2-1 against Karabian, but Portola’s Jenna Verplancke added an insurance goal less than two minutes later to send the Bulldogs into the quarterfinals next week.

https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/10/riverside-poly-girls-soccer-team-comes-short-against-portola-in-division-4-playoff-match/ Riverside Poly girls soccer team loses at Portola in Division 4 playoff game – Orange County Register

Russell Falcon

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