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By Zach Cavanagh

For in-game updates, news and more for all of the San Juan Capistrano high school sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCSports.

St. Margaret’s Girls Soccer Advances, San Juan Hills and JSerra Fall in CIF-SS First Round

Wednesday, May 12, was the first day of CIF-Southern Section playoff action in nearly 15 months.

There was plenty of San Juan Capistrano representation in the girls soccer playoffs, but only one team emerged victorious on the opening day of the postseason.

St. Margaret’s broke a second-half tie with 12 minutes remaining to defeat Pasadena Poly, 2-1, in a Division 4 first-round game at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School.

Julia Olosky got the scoring started in the first half, with a cut inside from the left side of the box and a shot back to the near side behind the falling goalkeeper.

Pasadena Poly tied it 15 minutes into the second half, and Megan Kenner put St. Margaret’s back on top 13 minutes later. Kenner released a 16-yard shot from the far right side over the ’keeper with 12 minutes left for the 2-1 lead that stood up.

St. Margaret’s goalkeeper Riley Long shut down Pasadena Poly the rest of the way to take the victory. The Tartans were also led defensively by Bryce Chan, Caroline Gunderson, Liv Taylor, Taylor Nock and Alexis Bullock.

San Joaquin League champion St. Margaret’s moves on to the second round to host Citrus Coast League champion Santa Paula on Friday, May 14. The winner will face either Palm Desert of Valley Christian of Cerritos in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, May 18.

San Juan Hills, fresh off a dramatic run to the South Coast League championship, hit a wall against Upland in Division 1 on Wednesday. Upland, a traditionally strong program, battled with the Stallions through regulation time and two overtime periods without a goal.

In the penalty-kick shootout, Upland edged San Juan Hills, 5-4, to advance.

JSerra went on the road to Long Beach Millikan in Division 1, where the Lions’ postseason trip was cut short. Millikan defeated JSerra soundly, 6-0.

JSerra’s game was the final game in the tenure of head coach Greg Baker, who announced last week he would step down from the Lions program and the SoCal Blues club program after the season. Baker led the Lions to three consecutive CIF-SS Division 1 titles, two CIF SoCal Regional titles and produced several star players, including Gatorade National Player of the Year Isabella D’Aquila. Baker is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to become a private trainer for the Slammers club in Irvine.

Capistrano Valley Christian is the only other San Juan Capistrano school still in the CIF-SS playoffs. The Eagles play in Division 7, which features 16 teams instead of 32, and play their first-round contest against St. Monica on Friday, May 14.

On the boys side, the CIF-SS first round was contested on Thursday, May 13, but no results were available at press time. In Division 1, JSerra hosted University of Irvine. In Division 5, St. Margaret’s hosted Crean Lutheran. In Division 7, Capistrano Valley Christian played at Riverside Prep.

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JSerra Football Coach Pat Harlow Resigns

After four seasons at the helm of the JSerra football program, head coach Pat Harlow resigned on Wednesday, May 12.

The Lions were 22-17 in Harlow’s four seasons, with their best season in 2018. JSerra went 9-3 in 2018 with a third-place finish in the Trinity League and a trip to the the CIF-SS Division 1 quarterfinals.

Beyond the pandemic, the last year was a tough one all around for the JSerra program. After the 2019 season, at least 16 players, including eight all-league selections, transferred out of JSerra, and the Lions went winless (0-5) with a young team in the delayed and shortened all-Trinity League 2020-21 schedule.

Harlow told The Orange County Register that he has no immediate coaching plans.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at zcavanagh@picketfencemedia.com.

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