Women's Soccer

Women's soccer team shuts out Saddleback, takes the cup

Women's soccer team shuts out Saddleback, takes the cup

Irvine Valley's women's soccer team played its best match of the season on Friday.

The Lasers stayed on a roll with a 3-0 win over district rival Saddleback in an Orange Empire Conference contest at home.

Irvine Valley stayed unbeaten in its last four contests, won its second match in a row and improved its record to 6-4-4 overall and 4-3-2 in conference with the victory.

The Lasers also reclaimed the South Orange County College Cup trophy. The winner with the best record in the two games between IVC and Saddleback captures the cup. The two teams tied the first time they met this season.

"It is a reward for the way they played today," IVC coach Joe Super said of his team's effort. "They deserved it. The team was focused from the start and played with a lot of energy today."

Saddleback dropped just its second match of the season and saw its record fall to 8-2-3 overall and 5-2-2 in conference.

The Gauchos were missing Emilee Monnig and Rachel Edelstein, who were ranked third and fourth in the conference in goals, respectively, due to injury.

Irvine Valley dominated action in the first half on Friday and that was the difference.

The Lasers out-shot Saddleback, 10-1, in the opening 45 minutes.

Irvine Valley jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. Sophomore midfielder Vanessa Gonzalez played a ball ahead to sophomore forward Lexi Benedict and she finished to give the Lasers a 1-0 lead.

It was Benedict's team-high 12 goal of the season. The total ranks her second in conference.

Gonzalez then scored the goal of the game six minutes later. She lofted a shot from nearly 35 yards out on a free kick that dipped just under the bar to put IVC ahead, 2-0.

Benedict and sophomore midfielders Payton Purcell and Samantha Mendoza also had opportunities in the first half.

Saddleback's best chance in the opening half came when Jill Corley got in behind the IVC defense, but Laser sophomore keeper Yesenia Pulido was there to make the save.

Irvine Valley put the game away 13 minutes into the second half. Sophomore defender Rosa Soto-Aleman made a run down the left side and sent a nice left-footed shot that beat Saddleback's keeper to the far post.

Pulido, with the help of IVC defenders Evelyn Lucatero, Ashley Ruiz, Soto-Aleman and Yvette Belman, recorded the shutout with solid play the rest of the way.

Pulido ended up making four saves, including three in the second half.

Irvine Valley plays again next Tuesday, hosting conference-leading Santiago Canyon at 3 p.m.

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