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Long Beach Poly Millikan Soccer

Girls’ Soccer: Millikan Set Pieces Push Rams Past Long Beach Poly

The562’s soccer coverage for the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Beach Futbol Club.

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

Superior pace helped Millikan earn a pair of set pieces that led to the only goals in the Rams’ 2-0 win at Long Beach Poly on Thursday night.

The victory moves Millikan (6-1-2, 4-0-0) into first place in the Moore League and Long Beach Poly (3-3-0, 3-1-0) falls into a tie for second place. The Rams are also ranked No. 6 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division 1/2 poll.

“The girls did a good job just preparing and managing emotions,” Millikan coach Tino Nunez said. “In these games a lot of it is emotions and now the nerves hit. We did a good job being mature about the game and found the moments to take advantage of them.”

Junior Alissey Fang provided the service on both set pieces for Millikan. In the 29th minute, her shot on goal was saved, and the rebound was sent home by senior Emmalee Ekblad. In the 77th minute, junior Mya Delaney scored the second goal off a Fang corner kick.

“I think it’s big,” Delaney said of the win. “Poly beats Wilson, and now we’re able to beat Poly, so that puts us in a great spot. Now we’re ready to walk into Wilson with confidence and we’re hoping Wilson is pretty scared of us now because we beat the team that beat them.”

Millikan visits Wilson on Thursday in the next big league game. The Bruins won the league title last year after the Rams won three consecutive league crowns.

“We have a lot of momentum right now and that showed today because we played really well as a team,” Emily Frost said. “This is big because it sets a tone and shows that we’re here to play, not mess around and win the Moore League again.”

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Millikan outshot Poly 7-4, and the majority of the contest was relatively even, but the Rams maintained a strong advantage in the midfield throughout. Nunez and the Rams were there to watch the Wilson and Poly game last week when the Jackrabbits dominated the midfield.

“We’ve been working on it since we went to the Poly and Wilson game,” Delaney said. “At practice Tino was on us about moving it side to side no matter how much they’re moving it we needed to settle and play. That helped, and our communication was there.”

“The biggest thing was staying connected throughout the lines and making sure we always have support,” Nunez said. “We know that Poly is strong and they look to go, so we just have to make sure we have numbers around the ball and build off that.”

Millikan senior Anjelina Nieto took two of the first three shots for the Rams, while Poly’s Katana Van Deusen had two of the first three for the Jackrabbits. Millikan’s Audrey Stewart created a few scoring chances for the visitors after that, and one of those chances came when the Rams were fouled at the top of the box just before the half hour mark. Stewart sent in a stinging shot that was saved by Poly goalkeeper Kennedy Justin but Ekblad met that at the back post and scored with one touch.

“Just playing soccer I’ve always known that you always run in on the free kicks,” Ekblad said. “That’s what I did and I was just in the right spot.”

The second half was much slower with only a few shoring chances for both sides. Millikan put the game away with less than 10 minutes to play when Delaney scored the corner kick.

“(Fang) played a great ball in and I just kind of ran the ball straight through,” Delaney said. 

“I think we kind of nullified each other in the run of the game and it came down to set pieces,” Poly coach Anthony Perez said. “Two set pieces got them the win. In these games it’s about who capitalizes on mistakes and they did that.”

Both teams will be in the Best of the West tournament this weekend.

VIDEO: Millikan vs. Long Beach Poly, Girls’ Soccer
PHOTOS: Millikan Vs. Long Beach Poly, Girls’ Soccer
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.