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Great Oak rallies to salvage tie versus rival Temecula Valley

01/19/2013, 1:00am PST
By Brian Haas

Behind late heroics, Great Oak salvages a tie versus crosstown rival Temecula Valley in a Southwestern League showdown of unbeaten teams.

Great Oak's Katie Martinez tries to maintain possession against Temecula Valley's Rachel Witz (right) during the crosstown rivals' Southwestern League showdown on Friday.

— Both girls soccer teams from Temecula Valley High and Great Oak entered Friday unbeaten in Southwestern League play.

Technically, both left the pitch with their status unchanged. But it sure didn’t feel that way.

Down by a pair of goals, the Wolfpack scored twice in the final six minutes to earn a 2-2 draw with the Golden Bears.

The result kept the top of the league table the same, but had each sideline experienced opposite emotions.

“I’m so proud of our team,” Great Oak senior Carlee Bates said. “We knew that we could come back and that we weren’t out of it.”

Bates, a late substitute, scored the first of the Wolfpack’s two goals after receiving a well-placed cross from Miranda Schulz in front of the net.

“When that ball came over, all I could think about was keeping my composure and putting it on net,” Bates said. “I didn’t want to blast it. I just wanted to remain calm and place it.”

Great Oak tied the game four minutes later when Schulz once again created a scoring opportunity, this time with an outlet pass to Steph Malherbe, who, after receiving the ball used her speed to drive into the box and hammer it home.

It’s the second time this season that Temecula Valley (13-2-4, 3-0-1) has left a meeting with Great Oak (10-2-2, 3-0-1) with a sour taste in its mouth.

In December, the Wolfpack defeated the Bears, 1-0, in the Great Oak Winter Classic championship match. In that game, Malherbe found similar heroics by scoring the game-winner with just 15 minutes remaining.

“When you’re ahead and you give up those late goals, obviously it feels like a loss to us,” Temecula Valley head coach Amber Young said. “But we have to remember that it wasn’t a loss, it was a tie, and we are still up at the top of the league.

“We should have finished the game better than we did and played better defense.”

Young said it is important her team does not let the outcome of Friday’s contest affect them entering Wednesday’s match against Murrieta Valley.

“We are going to watch the video, learn from it, and then flush it and move on,” Young said.

Both of the Temecula Valley goals were well constructed and came about because of solid midfield play from Rachel Witz.

Fifteen minutes into the contest, Witz headed a ball down the sideline to Becca Mohr, who prompty crossed it to Becca Cartmill charging the near post. Cartmill had no problems putting the ball away to give the Bears the early lead.

Temecula Valley extended its lead in the 51st minute when Witz gave a well-timed outlet pass to Darla Guajardo, who crossed the ball on her first touch. This time, is was Mohr’s turn to charge the goal, as she was able to find the ball deep in the box and deflect it in.

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