CARLSBAD La Costa Canyon dodged an upset.
After trailing by a goal in the first half, the host Mavericks rebounded and clinched their fourth consecutive appearance in a San Diego Section title match with a 4-1 semifinal win Tuesday over Hilltop. LCC will play Westview in the final.
“We started off a bit slow out the gate,” said La Costa Canyon coach Natalie Elkind. “I was proud of the way we responded once we fell behind. We kept our heads up and kept battling.”
Genesis Lucero’s late first-half equalizer sparked a barrage of scores for La Costa Canyon (18-4-3), seeded No. 1 in Division II. The sophomore scored twice for the Mavericks, who held a 19-5 shot advantage over the Lancers (16-5-3). Hayley Mayne and Kallie Kampfl scored the other two.
“She delivered,” Elkind said. “The first one was just sticking with the play, but the second goal was class, a great finish outside the box. Genesis was our impact player.”
Errant passes. Presumptuous shots. Missed defensive assignments. Each plagued the Mavericks throughout the first half, aiding in the Lancers’ only goal — a strike from senior midfielder Elena Aguilar on a counterattack.
That was the wake-up call. Trailing, La Costa Canyon dominated possession and attacked Hilltop, firing off 13 shots in the second half, connecting on three of them.
“It came down to supporting each other,” Elkind said, “making runs down the field and working for each other rather than watching teammates try to create on their own.”