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Aggies hand Bulldogs first loss

It took Centennial’s girls soccer team seven matches to mount a streak of 32 consecutive goals.

It took Arbor View 47 minutes to end it, defeating the Bulldogs 1-0 Thursday in a match rescheduled from Dec. 14.

Centennial (5-1, 3-1 Northwest League) outshot the Aggies 11-2 in a scoreless first half, including five shots on goal, as both teams contended with strong winds.

“It was a good, hard-fought match both ways. The wind definitely played a factor for both teams,” Arbor View coach Jay Howard said. “When you were going into the wind, you had to play defense, and when you had the wind, you had to score.”

With the wind to their backs in the second half, the Aggies (6-0-1, 5-0 Northwest) made the most of a few more chances. Arbor View took three shots, including two on goal, before Tori Rodriguez buried a ball in the left corner of the net from the midfield line seven minutes after halftime.

It was the junior defender’s first goal of the season for an Aggies team that has outscored opponents 22-0.

“Even though she plays defense for us, she’ll do that; she can get that ball up there,” Howard said. “We talked to them at the half that, in this wind, if you get a chance, shoot. That was a little far, but you can’t score if you don’t put it on goal.”

Alex Luevano-Hardin made seven saves to preserve the shutout, including five in the first half, capped by an acrobatic tip over the bar in the 35th minute.

“Alex has done that for four years,” Howard said. “She’s the best goalie I’ve ever coached, and I’ve been a head coach for 11 years and had a lot of very good, championship goalies. You know that she’s going to bring it every game. It was a great game she played today, with great concentration.”

Centennial’s last loss was Feb. 26, 2009 — a 3-0 defeat to Arbor View in the Sunset Region playoffs. The Sunset tournament was later rescheduled for another school’s use of an ineligible player and Centennial went on to win the Southern Nevada title. The teams haven’t played each other since but were expecting a close match.

“It’s amazing. We feel great,” Luevano-Hardin said. “Centennial put up a great fight, and we were happy to play against them. It was good for us. I’m glad we got that one.”

The Aggies outshot Centennial 11-4 in the second half.

“We went in knowing that it was going to be hard going against the wind but we’d just have to work through it,” said Luevano-Hardin, who posted her fifth shutout of the year. “We worked really hard to try to get that first 40 minutes in.”

The win puts the Aggies in strong contention for the league title, Howard said.

“We’ve been real competitive with the top teams the last four years. We’ve had moments where we feel like we’ve got over the hump, but we haven’t been consistent,” he said. “And that was one of our goals this year: to be consistent, in practice and in matches. And we feel like we’re doing that.”

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