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Miller, Aggies hand Bulldogs first loss of season

Arbor View’s girls soccer team knew it needed a big win to stay in the hunt for the Northwest League title.

Falon Miller made sure the Aggies got it Monday.

Miller scored two goals — both on headers — and the host Aggies made them stand up with a 2-0 shutout to hand Centennial its first loss of the season.

“It was big for us to play well against a great team, and Centennial is that,” Arbor View coach Jay Howard said. “That’s what was more of our focus. The game we lost, we just did not play really well.

We’ve been building on playing well. As much as the win was important, I just wanted to see us play well today.”

The result moves the Aggies (9-1, 6-1 Northwest League) into a three-way tie with the Bulldogs (10-1, 6-1) and Palo Verde (12-2-1, 6-1) at the midway point of league play.

Arbor View opened the scoring in the 35th minute when Kate Lourenco volleyed a cross into the box, where Miller headed the ball past Centennial goalkeeper Emily Murzinski, who finished with seven saves.

“I just knew that Kate’s left footed, so I knew she’d get a good cross in,” said Miller, who scored her 14th and 15th goals of the season. “I just had to set myself up for it, making the timing right. I couldn’t rush it, but let it come to me, and at the last second, get in front of the defense. It was perfect timing and hit right in the goal. It felt pretty good.”

Centennial nearly struck first, but Bethanie Skelton’s 33rd-minute shot sailed wide of the goal by inches.

Miller added a goal 23 minutes after halftime, heading the ball downward after a corner kick by teammate Taylor Bonetti.

Centennial outshot Arbor View 12-11, but the Bulldogs put only six shots on goal, compared with the Aggies’ nine.

Arbor View goalkeeper Kyla Salazar made six saves to earn the shutout, including back-to-back blocks 10 minutes into the match following a 40-yard free kick by Centennial’s Faith Johannes. Johannes also had a last-minute chance smothered by Salazar as the Bulldogs made a late push.

“It proves that we came together as a team,” Miller said. “We’ve worked hard in practice, we’ve set plays, and we’ve just bonded as a team. We’ve become a team.”

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