It didn’t take long for Strathmore High girls soccer coach Hector Gonzalez to understand what his team was up against in Jordyn Geller.
Not more than a minute into the Spartans’ CIF Southern California Regional Division IV girls soccer semifinal against Moorpark, Gonzalez implored his defenders to cover No. 00.
His concern about Geller proved right on the mark.
The junior forward had a hat trick while leading the third-seeded Musketeers over No. 2 Strathmore 3-1 in the regional semifinals Thursday. Moorpark will play at top-seeded La Mirada at 4 p.m. Saturday for the title.
“She’s a good player,” Gonzalez said. “We had to make sure we stayed with her. On the second goal, we just lost sight of her, and you can see what she can do in the open field.”
Geller opened the scoring for Moorpark (21-3-4) in the 48th minute when she scored off a headed pass from Nicole Szczepanek.
The Spartans (25-4-0) tied the score 4 minutes later as Ally Holloway scored on a roughly 25-yard free kick after Rosalinda Platas drew a foul.
But Geller got behind Strathmore’s defense for her second goal in the 60th minute, sending a long-range shot high over charging goalkeeper Jackie Orozco, and essentially put the match out of reach with another goal in the 78th.
Geller helped deny Strathmore, the only returning participant in the eight-team D-IV regional, a second straight trip to the final.
The Spartans lost 3-1 at home against Maranatha-Pasadena in last year’s final.
Strathmore is 48-6-1 over the past two seasons with consecutive East Sequoia League and Central Section Division IV titles.
“We accomplished more than words can explain,” Spartans junior forward Taylor Alkire said. “It’s a great feeling to get this far, especially doing it two years in a row.”
Alkire entered with 51 goals on the season, an average of 1.8 per game, but was held to one shot, a header late in the game off a corner by Brittany Hefer that was smothered by diving Moorpark goalkeeper Courtney Worstell.
Alkire had one other legit scoring opportunity, getting behind the defense on a breakaway with 13 minutes left, but Worstell got to the ball before Alkire could get off a shot.
Moorpark had Dominique Tucker-Campbell shadow Alkire, and other defenders helped.
“They were very good,” Alkire said. “They were faster and wanted it more. You could tell.”
Strathmore is expected to return eight of the 11 starters from Thursday’s game, including Alkire and Holloway, who finished with 27 goals and nine assists.
“We have a good group of girls,” Gonzalez said. “Next year hopefully we can come back and give it another try.”
In other regional semifinals involving section teams, Fowler’s girls lost 4-0 against Grace Brethren-Simi Valley in D-V, South’s boys beat La Costa Canyon 3-2 in overtime in D-II and Mendota’s boys lost 2-1 against Desert Mirage-Thermal in D-V. Danny Trejo scored his 49th goal of the season for the Aztecs.