Aliso Niguel girls soccer boosts league title hopes with win over No. 1 Capistrano Valley – Orange County Register

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ALISO VIEJO — The Aliso Niguel girls soccer team pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season Tuesday by beating Capistrano Valley 2-0 in a South Coast League game at Aliso Niguel High.

Capistrano Valley (15-2-1, 4-1) is ranked No. 1 in the Register’s Orange County Top 10 and No. 2 in the CIF-SS Division 1 poll. Aliso Niguel (7-5-2, 4-1) is unranked in both polls.

“I’m super proud because they never stopped working,” Aliso Niguel coach Marco Spaccini said. “It was just a phenomenal night from every point of view. Capo is an amazing team and we had to battle.”

The Cougars had outscored their league opponents 11-2 entering Tuesday and had 40 goals this season compared to just eight allowed.

Aliso Niguel struck first in the 22nd minute when Capistrano Valley was whistled for a foul near the corner. The Wolverines took a free kick that was essentially a corner kick.

There was traffic in front of the goal and junior Alaina Villa (Iowa State commit) found the ball and put it past the Cougars goalie to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead.

“We got a ball played into the box and there was a lot of kicking going around,” Villa said. “I was able to get a foot on it and put it in the bottom corner.”

The game came to a scary halt when an Aliso Niguel player required medical attention for nearly 30 minutes. Both teams returned to their benches for a bit and the Aliso Niguel team huddled around Spaccini in an emotional scene.

“First, I wanted to assure them that she was going to be OK,” Spaccini said. “We heard from the family and she is stable now. We told the girls that they had to play for her and to help support her, and they did.”

“We were very distraught,” Villa said. “We decided to play in her honor and get the win for her. It really motivated us.”

Capistrano Valley nearly scored a goal in the 13th minute off a corner kick. There was a scrum in front of the goal and the ball nearly found the net, but Aliso Niguel goalie Addison Rudel made the save.

The Cougars had another goal-scoring opportunity in the 63rd minute when Hawaii Pacific signee Lauren Longworth had a breakaway, but Rudel came out of goal to kick the ball away.

Aliso Niguel put the game away in the 78th minute when the Cougars were whistled for a hand ball in front of their own goal. This set up a penalty kick that Aozora Hamada made to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead.

Capo Valley goalie Allison Craycroft (Cal State Fullerton signee) played well and prevented Aliso Niguel from scoring on a couple of other chances.

Aliso Niguel is tied for first place with the Cougars and still have three league games remaining. The Wolverines have not won a league championship since 2019.

“We are not even thinking about that,” Spaccini said. “We just go game by game and see where that goes. We have a huge game here against San Clemente Thursday so we have to focus on that.”

Aliso Niguel beat San Clemente 1-0 earlier this season.

Capo Valley most recently won a league championship in 2022 when it won the Sea View League title. This is the first year for the Cougars in the South Coast League since 2016.

The Cougars will play a road game against San Juan Hills Thursday. Capo Valley beat San Juan Hills 3-0 on Jan. 11.

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