Long Beach Poly girls’ soccer had another impressive playoff run end in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals with a 1-0 loss to Edison on Wednesday.
The Jackrabbits (18-5-2) had multiple early chances to score on scrambles in front of the Edison goal but came up empty. The Chargers (16-5-4) dominated possession for the rest of the game, and broke though in the 54th minute on the counter attack.
It is Poly’s third Division 1 quarterfinals appearance in the last six years.
“I’ve very proud of this group,” senior-year Poly coach Anthony Perez said. “They brought this program back. People who are coming to Poly (to play soccer) can be proud of joining a winning program.”
Poly earned dangerous set pieces and four corner kicks to create its best scoring chances while Edison outshot the Jackrabbits 18-7. The Chargers earned five corners.
Junior goalkeeper Kira Ybarra kept Poly in the game with eight saves. Senior defender Sarah Santos had a handful of field blocks and a few imperative tackles.
“Early in the season she came to me and said, ‘I’ll just play center back and stay back there’ and she stepped up a senior,” Perez said of Santos. “She did her part even though it was out of her zone.”
Poly’s best stretch of play came to start the second half, but they couldn’t muster a shot on goal. Edison took advantage of the Jackrabbits pushing up numbers and Nicole Field led the Chargers the other way in the 54th minute. Her shot from the top of the box was saved and set wide by Ybarra. However, Jaqueline Peterson was at the back post to send home the game-winning goal with her first touch in full stride.
Poly senior captains Morgan King and Aniah Cutler came inches away from scoring an equalizer on multiple balls into the box, but Edison goalkeeper Allyssa Plotkin was able to punch all of the chances away. She also made a diving stop at the post on a last shot on target from Rachel Perry.
The Jackrabbits have won five CIF playoff games in the last two years under Perez after back-to-back first-round losses.
“The confidence that I had was the confidence in my players,” Perez said of promising to get the program back on track when he interviewed for the job.
“When I came back I knew a lot of them, so we had a relationship and I knew their abilities. It didn’t take as much getting used to… it was more just us getting the pride back out here, and getting that competitive drive going.”