IRVINE — Temecula Valley and Los Alamitos battled it out in the finals of the Best in the West girls’ soccer tournament a few weeks back. Ranked in the No. 5 and No. 7 spots in Division 1 of the CIF Southern Section polls, both teams battled back-and-forth in an all-out duel at University High School.
Los Alamitos beat San Juan Hills 2-1 in the semifinals on goals by senior Espi Logan and freshman Vivi Zacarias, but Temecula Valley (6-1-2) put the pressure on their two standouts all game. Griffins’ goalie Aurora Schuck, a Washington State commit, made a few late crucial saves to keep the Griffins (2-2-2) close.
Natalie Mitchell, Temecula Valley’s leading scorer so far this season, put away the first shot of the match in the fourth minute. Mitchell, who is bound for East Carolina, also scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory against Newport Harbor in the semifinals and stopped a quick counterattack against the Griffins in the final game by scoring off a cross pass by forward Kate Jacobsen for her 11th goal.
Junior wing Jenna Chaput would strike after teammate Camryn Vehlow headed the initial cross from Natalie Mitchell toward the goal from the far post. That is when Chaput put the game away off a corner kick in the 63rd minute to lift the Golden Bears past Los Alamitos 2-1 for their first ever Best in the West title.
Temecula Valley, who has been a powerhouse in the area for the past four years, took the title this year in a tournament that featured defending Division 1 champion Harvard-Westlake, No. 2 Santiago of Corona and No. 3 San Juan Hills, among others.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.