Soccer

History for Arabs' girls' soccer with home playoff win

The Coachella Valley High School girls’ soccer team just likes making history.

A soccer ball sits by the net during a high school soccer game in February 2015 in La Quinta.

A soccer ball sits by the net during a high school soccer game in February 2015 in La Quinta.

After earning a share of the De Anza League crown with Rancho Mirage for their first girls’ soccer title in school history, the Arabs accomplished another first Thursday, collecting the school’s first-ever home girls’ soccer victory.

Coachella Valley was in total control, scoring four times in the second half, for a 4-0 victory over visiting Century (Santa Ana) in a Division 6 first-round game. The eighth-ranked Arabs advance to Tuesday’s second round on the road against Ontario.

MORE: Full, updated CIF-SS playoff schedule here

Despite playing most of the first half in their offensive end, the Arabs could not find the goal. Several missed opportunities, including one off the crossbar, had them frustrated.

But coach Francisco Morales was far from panic mode.

“We knew we just had to get that first one in and more would follow,” he said. “That’s one of the nice things about this group is that they create a lot of opportunities and eventually we trust that the goals are going to come.”

It didn’t take long after halftime for the goals to start coming

The Arabs scored three minutes into the half off a nice cornerkick by Daniela Iniguez, which led to a hard header that ricocheted off the goalkeeper’s leg and stayed right in front of the goal for Adrianna Moreno to pound home for the 1-0 lead.

Two minutes later, Moreno struck again. This one was beautiful as she and leading goal-scorer Mariah Godinez raced down the field bearing down on the goalie. Godinez controlled the ball, flicked it to Moreno, who in an instant blasted it into the lower right of the goal.

“Well, my teammate Mariah did a lot to get me in position, and I just saw an open shot and I was like ‘Just go for it,’ ” Moreno said.  “I just didn’t think and went with my guts. And I know I have that shot and I just aimed for it and made it.”

Now with a 2-0 lead, the rest of the game felt like a formality as Century was not able to put much pressure on the Arabs’ goal.

Brianda Rios netted the third goal when she crossed up the goalkeeper, who was expecting Rios to cross the ball in front of the net, but instead she sneaked it in behind her on the near post from a tricky angle. The final goal came on a penalty kick as Godinez made it look easy after Century was called for a handball in the box.

This is only the third time the Arabs have made the playoffs in girls’ soccer, and was the third playoff win in school history. The 2011 team made the playoffs and won two road games. Last year’s team made the playoffs but lost their first game.

Now this year’s team hopes to make more history.

“The secret is really for them to just stay loose and relax,” Morales said. “This is still a young group even though they do have a lot of varsity experience, but a home playoff game is not something they ever played in before, so they just had to get rid of those nerves. And they’re going to have to remember to play that way.”

Coachella Valley will travel to face Ontario, a 2-0 winner over Mammoth, on Thursday.