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AT LAST, ECR NIPS NEMESIS ECR 1, CHATSWORTH 0.

Byline: Chris Cocoles Staff Writer

As the shot eluded Chatsworth goalkeeper Sydney Sterk and tucked itself into the net, El Camino Real High senior Kori McLaughlin had a one-word reaction.

``Finally,'' she said. Finally, McLaughlin's Conquistadores of Woodland Hills had beaten City Section power Chatsworth, 1-0 in a West Valley League match Thursday afternoon.

And finally, someone other than the host Chancellors is in position to claim a league championship. The Conquistadores (11-1-1, 4-0) have a two-game lead on Chatsworth, which had won 77 consecutive league matches before losing the league opener at Cleveland last week.

The Chancellors are four-time defending City champions and captured 10 titles in the last 12 seasons. ECR's win creates the possibility of earning the No. 1 seed for the postseason.

``We work every year to beat Chatsworth. Every year. I'm a senior this year and I want a ring. I play because I want to have a ring on my finger at the end of the year,'' McLaughlin said. ``We know Chatsworth is the best team in our league. If we beat Chatsworth, we have a very good chance to win the City.''

An evenly played, defense-dominated match seemed headed for a scoreless draw that would have aided ECR in the league-title picture. But Conquistadores coach Scott Holloway was adamant that his team played to win.

After a throw-in 74 minutes into the match, Conquistadores sophomore Samantha Spencer flipped the ball to McLaughlin inside the penalty area. Off a bounce, McLaughlin kicked it high over a wall of Chatsworth defenders - and Sterk - to convert one of the few legitimate scoring chances for either team.

``I think we've known that this is our best year. We have the best players. And we've watched, we've listened, that Chatsworth has broken down this year,'' Spencer said. ``And we know this was the year to do it, if any.''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 19, 2001
Words:311
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