Rebels romp to 7-0 play­off vic­tory over Wind­ward

Rebels score early, of­ten in play­off win

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - By ALAN HENDRY Val­ley Press Staff Writer

QUARTZ HILL — The Quartz Hill girls soc­cer team was able to score ef­fec­tively off of set plays on Thurs­day night in its play­off opener.

The Rebels scored three goals off of throw-ins by ju­nior Michelle Hess and two more goals on free kicks by se­nior Cassie James in route to a 7-0 vic­tory over Wind­ward in a CIF-South­ern Sec­tion Divi­sion 3 first-round game at Quartz Hill High School.

Quartz Hill (14-2-1) will play at No. 1 seed Flin­tridge Prep in a sec­ond-round game on Satur­day. Flin­tridge Prep de­feated Santa Bar­bara 3-2 in over­time in the first round on Thurs­day.

“We worked very dili­gently on our set pieces and throw-ins be­ing one of our set pieces that’s very ef­fec­tive for us,” Quartz Hill coach Charles Gor­don said. “We were able to cre­ate nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties off that this even­ing.”

Quartz Hill se­niors James and Emily Ser­rano both fin­ished with hat tricks, scor­ing three goals apiece. Ju­nior Anaya Re­speto also scored one goal for the Rebels.

“We played re­ally well to­gether,” said Ser­rano, a sec­ond-year var­sity player. “I think it started in warmups. We com­mu­ni­cated. Our in­ten­sity was very high and our com­mu­ni­ca­tion was high as well and that played a big part in our game.

“Our chem­istry is re­ally good. Our girls, we love each other. We com­mu­ni­cate. We played to­gether well. I think it was our preparatio­n, in the week leading up to it. Our coach, our prac­tice, our drills, ev­ery­thing leading up to the game.”

The Rebels missed an op­por­tu­nity in the sec­ond minute, on a throw-in by Hess that she placed right in front of the goal.

Hess had five throw-ins deep in Wind­ward ter­ri­tory that she was able to place right in front of the goal. The Rebels cap­i­tal­ized on three of those plays.

Quartz Hill scored its first goal in the fifth minute off a throw-in by Hess from the 12-yard line, with James chipping in the ball.

“I feel very amazed of our ac­com­plish­ments and how far we’ve come from the very first sea­son game to the CIF play­off first-round game,” James said. “The big­gest change is the love and the value of how we come out here and just work hard six days a week. Just play, play, play and have fun.

“The key was the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the reach of our wides com­ing through to the mid­dle and also some of the set pieces to goal, just all around love and en­ergy of the team.”

Af­ter the Rebels missed a chance on a throw-in in the 10th minute, Quartz Hill scored on an­other throw-in by Hess in the 11th minute.

Ser­rano headed in the throw-in for the goal and a 2-0 lead.

“I’ve just al­ways had a long throw,” said Hess, a third-year var­sity player. “I was re­ally try­ing in warmups. I got stretched out by coach. They were as far as I’ve seen for a while.

“It’s sat­is­fy­ing to see it pay off for us. It shows us that we can do it, but we still have hard work to go and we can’t stop.”

Ser­rano scored in the 19th minute, redi­rect­ing a pass from five yards out.

James gave the Rebels a 4-0 lead in the 21st minute on a free kick from 25 yards out, hit­ting the top of the net just above the leap­ing Wind­ward goal­keeper.

Quartz Hill scored on a third throw-in by Hess in the 38th minute, with Ser­rano cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the set piece to give the Rebels a 5-0 half­time lead.

“I think that we played with high in­ten­sity. It was our preparatio­n,” said Hess. “We worked as a team, not alone, and we worked hard.

“It wouldn’t be with­out ev­ery­one though. If we didn’t have ev­ery­one work­ing for each other, none of that would hap­pen.”

Re­speto scored min­utes into the sec­ond half.

Wind­ward sopho­more goalie Kyra Bishop chal­lenged Re­speto, but she did not se­cure the ball and Re­speto chipped in the loose ball from five yards out for the goal.

James capped the scor­ing for the Rebels with a goal on a free kick in the 50th minute.

James took the free kick from eight yards out, near the home side­line. She hit the far, top cor­ner over a leap­ing goal­keeper to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead.

“I’m ex­tremely happy for the girls,” Gor­don said. “They bat­tled from the open­ing whis­tle and never wa­vered all game.

“Our tran­si­tion. Tonight our tran­si­tion was stel­lar. The girls had a lot of en­ergy. They did a very good job with team de­fense and were able to com­bine and get lots of num­bers around the ball on of­fense.”

Quartz Hill sopho­more goal­keeper Katie Crees had the shutout for the Rebels, but she faced only a few shots as the de­fense in front of her helped sti­fle the Wild­cats (94-4), the sec­ond-place team from the Gold Coast League.

Wind­ward se­nior Olivia Venit had one of the best op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Wild­cats, hit­ting the cross­bar on a free kick from the 12-yard line in stop­page time at the end of the match.

Quartz Hill was dropped from Divi­sion 2 last sea­son and en­ters the play­offs hav­ing won the Golden League ti­tle. The Rebels shared the league ti­tle with East­side two years ago and won 10 straight out­right from 2008 to 2017.

ALAN HENDRY/Val­ley Press

PER­FECT THROW — Quartz Hill ju­nior Michelle Hess watches as her throw-in trav­els to the goal in a CIF-South­ern Sec­tion Divi­sion 3 First Round game against Wind­ward on Thurs­day. The Rebels scored three goals on Hess’ throw-ins in a 7-0 vic­tory.

ALAN HENDRY/Val­ley Press

GET­TING THERE — Quartz Hill se­nior Emily Ser­rano (10) bat­tles for the ball against a Wind­ward player on Thurs­day. Ser­rano scored three goals in the Rebels’ 7-0 play­off vic­tory.

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