My Thoughts: It seems only fitting that the defending champions would square off against the top-seeded team this season for the right to go to the championship match. The Wolverines have once again shown an incredible knack for finding a way to grind out victories. All three of their playoff wins so far this season have come been by one goal margins. Dating back to last season, Aliso Niguel has won six straight playoff matches by a goal. The team is battle-tested, hungry, and eager to show that they are still the current standard of excellence in the county.
Though the Cougars were held without a goal for the first time in eight matches, Capistrano Valley’s stellar season continued on the heels of its defense and the goaltending of junior Aubrie Coley. Some have questioned whether or not the Cougars were “overrated” this season, but the playoffs have shown they can win with different facets of their game working well. The Cougars have been the most complete county team in Division 1 this season and they will need that effort against Aliso Niguel.
This match will come down to who can play their style of soccer the best and control the tempo of the match. Aliso Niguel’s impressive playoff streak and strong overall play makes them a tempting choice and it wouldn’t surprise me if they once again find a way to win the match. But all season long, the Cougars have answered every challenge they have faced and found a way to get the job done. In what could be one of the better semifinals in recent years, they are my pick to win and advance to the title match for the first time since 2004.
And The Winner Is…: Capistrano Valley
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