SUNRISE REGION: Gators get spark from McLean

Green Valley’s girls soccer team was having trouble finding momentum in the first half of Tuesday’s  Sunrise Region title match.

With two minutes to go before halftime, senior Cassidy McLean gave the Gators all the momentum they needed.

McLean scored late in the first half and added an assist after the break to help Green Valley down rival Coronado 2-0 at Faith Lutheran and capture its second region title in a row.

Green Valley (21-4-3) goes for its second straight Southern Nevada championship when it faces Bishop Gorman (16-3-2) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Faith Lutheran.

“I definitely knew we needed a goal going into halftime,” said McLean, who has signed with Northern Arizona. “We could come out with more confidence, and we could come out playing the game we’re used to. It really helped us to control the game.”

Kayla Anderson put up three shots on goal to begin the match but dished a pass to McLean in front of the goal that the senior midfielder spun over Coronado goalkeeper Kaitlyn Fahrner.

“I tried to call for it, and luckily it got through and I was able to take a touch to the outside and play it back across to the opposite pole,” McLean said. “It wouldn’t have gotten there if it hadn’t been for (freshman midfielder Rachel King), getting it down and around in traffic.”

McLean, who started the season as a striker but moved to central midfielder, also set up Alex Adams for a one-on-one opportunity that she converted in the 53rd minute for the Gators.

“She came into the year and we thought she would be a 25-goal scorer,” Green Valley coach Roy Snyder said of McLean. “But we realized in our tournament in San Francisco that we were going to be successful only if we strengthened the center of the midfield. So we took our best player in so many respects, put her in the middle of the field and let her control games.

“She took that on, and she’s been such a great leader. She still scores plenty of goals, but she’s very dangerous in front of the net and has ice in her veins when she finishes.”

Green Valley edged the Cougars (14-2-4) in possession through the first half, with both teams putting up six shots. But the Gators responded after the break and held Coronado to one shot on goal.

“Coronado is such a good team, if you let them get a goal on you, they can shut you down instantly,” Snyder said. “The girls did a really good job of responding (to each goal).”

Nicole Dunn made six saves to earn the shutout, including a reaction save in the 35th minute after Coronado’s Nia Moreno blasted a shot from inside the 6-yard box.

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