PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — The goals came early and often for the Pali Blues as they won their fifth straight match, defeating the Victoria Highlanders 8-0 at Palisades High School on Wednesday night.
Lynn Williams and Anisa Guajardo, who are teammates at Pepperdine, led the scoring for Pali with two goals each.
“It felt good to actually just put it away, and not by a little bit, but to prove ourselves like we really can just beat a team all out,” Williams said.
Pali peppered Highlanders goalkeeper Stephanie Parker with 21 shots during the game, along with 10 corner kicks. It was simply too much for the former Victoria Highlanders to defend.
“They’re the best team that we’ve played and we’ve played some of the better ones,” said Highlanders head coach Dave Dew. “We played Seattle last week and lost 1-0…They are by far the most talented team I’ve seen in the league so far.”
The Pali Blues were playing without starter Nikki Washington, who has a quad injury, and head coach Charlie Naimo rested several other starters in the second half.
Naimo said he liked the score and was happy to be able to pull players off the field at the half.
“I played Lynn (Williams) the full 90 because I want to get her to fitness, but at the end of 90 she was still running hard,” Naimo said. “By the end of the year, that kid is going to be unstoppable.”
Michelle Pao started the scoring in just the third minute, with a strike to the far post. Williams followed with her first goal for Pali in the 35th minute. Just two minutes later, Sarah Huffman sent her corner kick into the box where Pali team captain Christie Shaner headed it into the net for a 3-0 lead in the 37th minute.
In the second half, Danielle Hubka was taken down in the box and converted the penalty kick to extend Pali’s lead to 4-0 and Ann Tangorra made it 5-0 with her goal in the 70th minute. Shaner took a free kick and delivered the ball to the feet of Anisa Guajardo, who tapped it in for 6-0 in the 73rd minute.
Guajardo scored her second goal of the night in the 81st minute after Williams made a speedy run up the left sideline and sent a cross into the box for Gajardo. Williams capped the scoring with her second of the night, receiving the ball with her back to the goal and turning with the quick shot for the 8-0 lead in the 83rd minute.
“I haven’t played for a while because I just got back from a mission trip to Figi,” Williams said. “So it feels good to get out there and put it away.”
Victoria had a few chances, taking nine shots, with Jacqueline Harrison taking a team-high four of those shots. Parker made 10 saves in the match.
Dew said that he has a young team this year and he knew coming into the game that it “would be a struggle.”
Historically, the Victoria Highlanders recruited locally only, a practice that Dew said needs to change as the league gets more competitive.
“If we’re going to sustain playing in the league, we’re going to have to start bringing in players from elsewhere,” Dew said. “We got better than we were last year I think, despite the score today. We still need to acquire those kinds of players if we’re going to stay competitive with everyone else.”
The Pali Blues hit the road for their next five games, with the next two in Colorado. They will play the Colorado Rapids on Friday at 8 p.m. ET and the Rush on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The Highlanders stay in Southern California for Friday’s 10 p.m. match against the LA Strikers.
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