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Westview ready for next challenge

02/23/2013, 4:13pm PST
By Doug Sherwin • Special to the U-T

After outlasting San Marcos, Wolverines will face hot Steele Canyon in semifinals.


Westview’s Angel Meriwether (right) celebrates her goal with Cassie Taniguchi on Friday.

The Westview High girls soccer team’s season has been filled with more drama and intrigue than an Oscar-winning movie.

There have been stunning comebacks, unfortunate injuries, player availability conflicts and a late-season slump.

Through it all, the Wolverines are still poised for a Hollywood ending.

“We’ve had a lot of challenges put in front of us, but so far the kids have responded well,” said Westview coach Peter Stogsdill.

The next obstacle for the second-seeded Wolverines (17-6-2) is a doozy.

They will face No. 3 seed Steele Canyon (22-1-1) in the CIF San Diego Section Division II semifinals Tuesday night. The Cougars are riding a 20-game unbeaten streak as they seek their first section title.

Westview, which is aiming for its sixth championship since 2005, escaped the quarterfinals Friday with a nerve-racking 1-0 victory over No. 10 seed San Marcos.

The host Wolverines controlled play throughout, but the outcome was still in doubt until Angel Meriwether scored with less than 16 minutes left in regulation.

“Division II is super-strong this year,” Stogsdill said. “Look, this was a 10 seed versus a 2 seed, and it could have gone either direction.

“For us, it’s continuing to play our game and not letting anything else affect us. When we settle down and possess the ball, it allows us to use our speed, and we’re hard to control.”

Westview lost to La Costa Canyon in last year’s Division II final, and the Wolverines players would love a rematch with the top-seeded Mavericks, who will meet No. 5 Hilltop in Tuesday’s other semifinal.

But they’ll have to get by Steele Canyon, which thumped Rancho Bernardo 3-0 in the quarterfinals and is 19-0-1 in its last 20 games.

The Cougars have outscored opponents 81-10 this season. Senior goalkeeper Melora Lawson has posted 17 shutouts.

The Wolverines are no slouches. They are led by standout forwards Hailey Harbison (8 goals, 8 assists) and Marley Canales (8 goals), both of whom are members of the Olympic Development Program, while Meriwether has netted a team-high 13 goals.

The defense is anchored by fullback Meagan Harbison and goalie Andrea Leano, who have helped the team post 10 shutouts.

“Each game we get better and better,” Meagan Harbison said. “We have speed on the team up top, and our defense is pretty good.”

Stogsdill has had to shuffle his lineup this year, as Hailey Harbison and Canales’ participation with the national program has caused them to miss some games.

Westview also endured a tough stretch at the end of January, going 1-3-1 to put its Palomar League title hopes in jeopardy.

“It was definitely a wake-up call for us,” center midfielder Danielle Gonzales said. “It put a lot of pressure on us, so we worked a lot harder.”

In the second-to-last game of the regular season, needing a win to keep pace with first-place Poway, the Wolverines scored twice in the final seven minutes to rally for a 2-1 victory over the Titans. The teams eventually shared the league title.

“That shows how much heart the kids have,” Stogsdill said. “The kids bonded together and fought hard the last few weeks to win the Palomar League.”

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