Santa Margarita girls soccer gets defensive under first-year coach Craig Bull
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Santa Margarita girls soccer coach Craig Bull holds a special affinity for the defensive side of the game.
He played defender growing up on the pitch, a journey that took him to Sheffield Hallam University in England.
But in his first season as the Eagles’ coach, his feeling about defense has taken on a new signifiance.
Santa Margarita entered Thursday with five shutouts in its six Trinity League matches and 12 shutouts overall. The Eagles are 15-0-1 overall and 5-0-1 in league.
“That’s why we are where we are,” Bull said Thursday of his team’s defense.
Bull, who also coaches with the powerhouse Slammers club, said he has emphasized defensive instruction but credits his players for their “collective effort” to execute. “It’s team defense,” he said.
Santa Margarita’s defense features a deep back line and a rotation of goalies.
The Eagles’ group of defenders includes college-committed Angelina Moschetti (Colorado) at left back, Christa Hayden (Michigan) and Skylar Regan (Army) at center back and Kaylee McKeehan (Boise State) at right back. Three of the four are seniors.
Bull’s bench includes key defensive subs in Charlotte Memoly, Natalie Leon and Isabella Gissendanner.
In goal, Santa Margarita splits time between freshman Peyton Trayer and junior Ruby Berg.
Santa Margarita notched its fifth shutout in league with a 1-0 victory at JSerra on Tuesday. Freshman Jastel David scored the only goal by putting away a rebound off a shot by Moschetti.
The Eagles’ strong defense has been balanced by the scoring of Faith George. The USC-committed junior leads the team with 22 goals. David and Sydney Osborn are next with five goals apiece.
Bull wants his team to remain sharp this week as it closes the Trinity League, its final preparation for the playoffs. “I don’t look too far ahead,” he said, “(but) I’m excited (for CIF).”
The pairings for the soccer playoffs will be announced by the CIF-SS on Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. …
Pacific Coast League-leading Portola (11-2-1, 3-0-0) has jumped to No. 3 in Division 3. …
Huntington Beach (19-2-1), ranked third in Division 1/2, plays host to No. 12 Los Alamitos (11-6-3) on Monday in a match that could settle the Surf League title.