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Steele Canyon lineup has some veteran kick

12/28/2013, 9:48pm PST
By Glae Thien, Special to the U-T

Cougars defeat Oceanside to reach Girls Elite Division final of SoCal Classic.

— In a soccer lineup otherwise filled with seniors, Steele Canyon High junior Briana Daoust doesn’t stand out simply for being the only underclassman.

No, the Cougars midfielder also gains notice for how well she gets around the field, as evidenced in the Girls Elite Division semifinals of the 19th annual Southern California Classic.

Daoust opened the scoring by converting a free kick in the first half and later accounted for the only second-half goal by scoring on a rebound to help propel the Cougars past host Oceanside 4-1 on Saturday.

By her account, too, it helps to be surrounded by all that experience.

“The seniors have a different energy, and they definitely bring it,” said Daoust, who has six goals this season. “It gets me pumped up. So I like to help out and make the team the best that it can be.”

Steele Canyon (8-1) has outscored the opposition 29-4 on the season heading into Monday’s final against Rancho Cucamonga at the same site.

Leading the attack has been senior forward Ebony Squier, who recorded her 10th goal of the campaign against the Pirates (3-3). With that, Squier topped her total from last season when she principally played on defense.

As an inspiration, Squier refers to Cougars alum Kiana Quarles (Cal State San Bernardino), who scored 26 goals last season in helping Steele Canyon reach the San Diego Section Division II semifinals.

“From defense, I was real excited to play forward to score more and assist,” Squier said. “I look to (Quarles) from last season so much, and since she had 26, I’m trying to get the same.”

Daoust recorded her free-kick goal on a bouncing shot in the 14th minute. After Oceanside’s Josephine Mageo had a tying score five minutes later, the Cougars took just three minutes to respond with a go-ahead goal by Elizabeth Nerat.

Squier added her goal on a lofting left-footed shot 12 minutes before halftime.

“We’re like a big family on this team, so that definitely helps us,” Daoust said. “Now we want to win the next game and keep going.”

In this season’s new playoff structure, the Cougars are looking to bid for their first section title in the Open Division.

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