“The throw was right there and (Melanie) stuck a rocket right in the corner,” said Highland coach Juan Paolo, whose team extended its league unbeaten streak to 34 in a row. “They all stepped up to the plate (Friday). I’m really proud of all of them.” After rallying for a 1-1 tie Monday against rival Quartz Hill and scoring in the final minute in a 2-1 victory Wednesday against Knight of Palmdale, Highland (12-4-7, 11-0-1) endured another nerve-racking moment to open Friday’s match. Patty Garcia struck a 30-yard free kick that short-hopped Highland goalkeeper Eva Quirarte, allowing Maria Ibarra to gather the loose ball in the box and punch in a rebound shot in the sixth minute to give the Eagles (12-8-2, 9-2-1) the lead. Samantha Johnson wasted little time providing the equalizer, receiving the ball inside the midfield line less than a minute later and beating six Lancaster defenders on her way to her 12th goal of the season and 51st of her career. LANCASTER – The source of the assist was predictable. After all, Ana Perez is tied for Highland of Palmdale’s team lead with 10. “We didn’t expect Lancaster to score right away like that,” Samantha Johnson said. “It put us in a pretty big hole, but we came back nicely.” Lancaster goalkeeper Elosia Lopez denied Highland on several chances to take the lead in the first half. But after Melanie Johnson gave the Bulldogs the advantage, Abbie D’Errico, Alex Fulladosa and Adriana Aguilar handled the rest, rarely letting the Eagles cross the midfield line the rest of the match to preserve the area’s longest active league unbeaten streak. “I feel really honored to be part of our streak,” Samantha Johnson said. “I’m only a sophomore, so I hope it continues for years to come.” Highland, which competed without Mexican Under-20 national team member Janet Mendez, will host a first-round Div. II playoff game for the third consecutive year. Mendez will return for the Bulldogs’ postseason opener next Friday. A year after placing third in league and losing to Thousand Oaks in a wild-card match, Lancaster recorded its best league finish under coach Rick Acuna and could receive a first-round home game. – Kevin Connelly contributed [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The surname of the goal scorer was also a familiar one. But after sophomore Samantha Johnson tied the score in the first half Friday, it was freshman sister Melanie who secured the Bulldogs’ third consecutive Golden League girls’ soccer title, scoring off a long throw-in from Perez in the 49th minute to lead Highland to a 2-1 victory at Lancaster.
"Girls’ soccer: Johnsons have Golden touch for Highland"