Krystal Medina lifts Santiago girls soccer team past Temecula Valley – Press-Enterprise

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TEMECULA — As the Santiago girls soccer team’s No. 10, sophomore Krystal Medina has to decide when to set up her teammates and when to unleash shots of her own.
Medina scored goals in the 27th and 45th minutes as the Sharks erased rallied for a 2-1 victory over Temecula Valley in a nonleague showdown Monday between Division 1-ranked squads.


“The profile for our No. 10 is to be a playmaker, but sometimes you do have to get a little selfish when the moments are there,” Santiago coach Mike Fleming said. “It is a testament to her skills and her awareness. She definitely knowns when and where to take those shooting chances.”
Santiago (3-0-2) came into the week at No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section’s latest Division 1 rankings, while Temecula Valley (3-1-1) was ranked No. 5. The two programs have delivered a handful of memorable matches in recent seasons, and Monday’s battle was another exciting chapter in the series.

Natalie Mitchell nearly gave Temecula Valley the lead in the 14th minute, but her shot rolled just wide of the back post. The senior striker did not miss given a second chance. In the 20th minute, Mitchell pounced on a loose ball, dribbled into the box and cracked a shot into the upper corner.
Santiago came close to leveling the score in the 24th and 25th minutes. Medina set up Kaitlyn Taylor, but Temecula Valley goalkeeper Elizabeth Ludwig came off her line to block Taylor’s shot. Taylor later sent a low cross into the box, but Medina was unable to get her foot onto the ball.
Medina was in the right place in the 25th minute, as she recovered a deflected pass, dribbled forward and chipped a shot just under the crossbar for the equalizer.
“I just looked up, saw the opportunity and decided to take it,” Medina said with a laugh.
In the 45th minute, Julia Becerra passed the ball from near midfield into the scoring area. Taylor laid the ball off to Medina, who slotted the ball into the net to give Santiago the lead.

Medina continues to impress despite her small stature. Her official height is not listed on the roster, but she definitely checks in under five feet.
“It’s a funny thing with soccer. Size is a relative thing,” Fleming said. “A lot of people look for that big, strong and fast player, but its really about your soccer awareness and heart. She is a true student of the game, and you mix in her ability on the ball and she really opens things up for us.”
Mitchell was a handful for Santiago’s defense throughout the match, whether from open play or on the handful of quality corners she delivered. In the 59th minute, Carly Radke played Mitchell onto the ball, but the shot was blocked in the box by Santiago’s Faith Potts. In the 72nd minute, Mitchell made another strong run to her right, but her shot again bounced just past the far post.
“They have two great strikers (Mitchell and Kate Jacobsen), and they are really good on the counter,” Fleming said of Temecula Valley. “They definitely have been the strongest team we’ve played so far.”

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