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Girls' Soccer Playoffs: CdM collects top seed

Sea Kings begin quest for first CIF title with home match Friday. Eagles, Sage and Sailors hit the road.

February 13, 2012|By Matt Szabo

Bryan Middleton was a part of three large-school division championship teams as a soccer player at Jesuit High in Portland, Ore. As an assistant coach, he helped the Edison High boys' soccer team win the CIF Southern Section Division II crown in 2000-2001.

His Corona del Mar High girls' soccer teams have also been on the upswing in recent years, but the Sea Kings have not won a CIF title in program history.

Their best shot so far under Middleton starts now. Pacific Coast League champion CdM has earned the top seed in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.

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The Sea Kings (20-2-2) play host on Friday to the winner of a wild-card game between Huntington Beach and West Ranch. Middleton said he is hoping to have the game moved to Jim Scott Stadium at 4 p.m.

Three other Newport-Mesa teams also made the postseason. Newport Harbor (8-10-3), the third-place team from the Sunset League, plays at Mission League champion Harvard-Westlake in another first-round Division I match Friday.

Sage Hill (12-5-3), the third-place team from the Academy League, plays at Alverno of Sierra Madre in a first-round Division VI clash Friday.

Estancia, which finished fourth in the Orange Coast League, received an at-large berth into the Division IV playoffs. The Eagles (9-8-6) play at La Sierra of Riverside in a wild-card match Wednesday. Should they win, they'd play at No. 2-seeded Marymount in a first-round tilt Friday.

CdM is seeded for the first time in Middleton's 10-year tenure. His team is led by its senior captains: forward Allyson Brahs (Washington), defenders Amanda Stephenson (George Mason) and Sydney Raguse (Michigan) and goalkeeper Sarah Cox (Stanford). The Sea Kings captured their second straight outright league title, yet bigger goals remain.

"At some point, we want to win the CIF title," Middleton said. "This year especially, we've had the right mix of players on the field and leadership from the four senior captains."

The Sea Kings were ranked No. 2 in CIF for much of the year. CdM moved up after then-No. 1 Aliso Niguel lost a South Coast League match to then-No. 3 San Clemente on Wednesday. League champion San Clemente is the No. 2 seed and Dana Hills the No. 3 seed, while Aliso Niguel dropped to No. 4.

But Middleton said it is his team, which has lost in the CIF quarterfinals each of the last three years (the first two in Division II), that has something to prove.

"No matter what, we're still underdogs," he said. "We're still trying to get that first title."

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