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SIMI VALLEY GIRLS' SOCCER TOURNAMENT: COCHRANE LISTENS THE BEST; WESTLAKE EARNS THIRD PLACE IN TOURNAMENT.

Byline: Heather Gripp Staff Writer

The words were meant for Simi Valley, but Westlake's Kelly Cochrane was the one who listened.

The Simi Valley girls' soccer coaching staff repeatedly shouted to the Pioneers that all they needed to do was take shots and it wouldn't be long before one went in the goal.

Instead it was Cochrane who took one of the few shots of the first half, and like the Pioneers said, it went in. The freshman forward's goal, which rolled past Pioneers goalkeeper Laura Janke late in the half, provided Westlake with a 1-0 victory Wednesday against the host Pioneers in the third-place game of the Simi Valley tournament.

Buena, which also won the title in 1994, improved to 13-0 by defeating Jurupa Valley 4-2 in the championship game.

Cochrane called the game fun and left her excited about meeting the Pioneers again during the Marmonte League season, but for many involved, it was simply a matter of trying to survive.

``I like this,'' said Cochrane, whose goal was her second of the season. ``It's fun. League's going to be a lot of fun.''

The league season started last week, and the defending champion Warriors (8-1-2) were the only ones to open with a 2-0 record. Simi Valley (4-4-1) is 1-1.

Injuries decimated both lineups by the final day of the three-day tournament. Westlake was left with just 13 players after senior midfielder Jenna Wirtz fell Tuesday.

Simi Valley called up several junior varsity players for the tournament to help rest previously injured players, but as one after another had to be removed Wednesday because of injuries, the Pioneers struggled to find someone healthy enough to play the final five minutes after Stacy Cunningham pulled a hamstring.

Because of the injuries, neither team knew whether to consider the contest a true indication of what to expect when the traditional Marmonte powers meet again next month.

``What I take out of this, is everybody in league has a chance,'' Simi Valley coach Mark Johnson said.

``Don't get me wrong, Westlake is a good team, and I still think they should be at the top, but they haven't been scoring. If we play like we played in the first half against Buena (in Tuesday's semifinal won by Buena), we could have beat them.''

Gina Bova stepped up after an ineffective first half and provided a few more scoring opportunities for the Pioneers. But the ball remained primarily in Simi Valley's defensive area. High winds, which redirected balls, made passing difficult, but a constantly rotating lineup hurt the Pioneers more.

Westlake has next week off, with coach Aerick Brown ordering his players to take a break and ``do anything but play soccer,'' for the next 10 days.

Simi Valley has little time to repcuperate as it participates in the highly competitive Excalibur tournament starting Monday.

Most other local teams weren't feeling much better after the final day of the tournament. Louisville beat Atascadero in a consolation final, but Canyon (11-3-1) lost to Mira Costa 4-1 in a matchup for fifth place and Chatsworth lost 3-0 to Brentwood.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

PHOTO (1 --2) Two Marmonte League rivals, Westlake and Simi Valley, battled Wednesday for third place in the Simi Valley tournament. Westlake's Katie McCurdy (above) tries to prevent Simi Valley's Michelle Thuotte from controlling the ball. Westlake's Sara Silver-Hill (left, center), takes on Kati Hermann (21) and Jennifer Peterson (6).

Photos by Phil McCarten/Staff Photographer
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 23, 1999
Words:576
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