Webb girls soccer team on record winning streak

by Andrew Alonzo | aalonzo@claremont-courier.com

When the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section updates its record books in 2023, the Vivian Webb School’s girls varsity soccer team will see its name appear twice: once next to its 2022 Division VI CIF-SS title, and another among the longest winning streaks of all time.

Webb is in the midst of a 28-game win streak and moved into fifth place in CIF-SS history with its most recent 3-0 win over Glendora on December 15.

Sixth year VWS varsity head coach Malick Mbengue said it’s a “mind boggling” stat.

“It doesn’t happen that often to even the greatest teams at any level, not just high school sports,” he said. “But even professionally it’s a little unheard of for any team to go that long without losing a game or even tying a game. It’s an incredible achievement for the girls.”

The streak began at the end of the 2020-21 campaign as the Gauls finished the year with a 3-1 win at Pacifica Christian to cap a disappointing 3-5-1 season.

The next year Webb turned red hot, going 20-0 and scooping up the San Joaquin League, Division VI CIF-SS and Division V CIF-Southern Regional titles.

The team began this season with a lopsided 10-0 shutout over Azusa on December 3, then added six more victories to get to 28 straight.

Mbengue said the team’s driving force is a mix of factors.

“I think it’s the desire to play and also the joy that they get from playing the game and being with each other,” he said. “It’s nice to be winning and to have the positive results, but winning can get old if you’re not enjoying it anymore, if you are not having fun with the people you are with, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing.

“I think all those just come together. They love being together, they love the game, and they love playing. So, win or lose, they always enjoy being there. But winning helps.”\

Webb’s 2021-22 Division V CIF-Southern Section championship team included (L to R) senior forward Taren Duffy, junior midfielder Taylor Crawford, junior forward Abbey Cook, and defender Reece Ollivierre. COURIER photo/Andrew Alonzo

Captain and standout senior forward Abbey Cook, who has an incredible 123 goals over three seasons and was last season’s CIF-SS Division VI girls soccer player of the year, said the streak is a team achievement.

“The streak … it’s not really something we talk about as a team,” Abbey said. “We honestly just stay focused on each game and play our best soccer. Ultimately, it’s not about the streak because it eventually is going to end. I just think keeping our focus and taking it one game at a time, that’s how you win championships. I don’t want to shoot for going undefeated, I just want to shoot for the long run and getting better as a team.”

After last year’s two CIF-SS title wins — both 3-2 home victories over Arrowhead Christian Academy — the team jumped to Division III and as such are facing stiffer opposition this year. The team has clearly risen to the challenge, and Mbengue said it can continue winning as long as the girls keep playing with passion and focus.

Sixth year Webb Schools girls varsity soccer head coach Malick Mbengue has guided his team to a 28-game win streak, the fifth longest in CIF-Southern Section history. COURIER photo/Andrew Alonzo

“At the beginning of the season I told them, ‘Let’s relax. No pressure on us. We already accomplished history. Anything else that comes in will be a bonus,’” Mbengue said.

Confident in the team’s abilities, Mbengue and Abbey said it’s possible to repeat the success of 2021-22. The team’s maturity — with seven seniors on the squad — and chemistry have only intensified over the last two seasons. Both have proven invaluable as Webb faces tougher opponents.

“It’s going to be harder now that a lot of the teams know who we are and know our records,” Mbengue said. “They will be preparing. I think it’s going to be a lot more challenging than going under the radar the way we did last year. But it’s soccer: anything can happen.”

Standout Webb forward Abbey Cook swings in a cross during last year’s 3-2 victory over Arrowhead Christian in the Division V CIF-Southern Section Regional title game. COURIER photo/Andrew Alonzo

The four teams above Webb in the all-time winning streak record books are Torrance, in fourth place with a 29-game run from 1983 to 1985, Buena, with 35 from 1999-2000, Agoura, with 46 from 1987-1990, and Torrance again, with 48 from 1990 to 1992. With nine games left in the campaign before postseason play, the team could leap over Torrance and Buena if it keeps winning.

To view all CIF-SS records, visit cifss.org/record-book-2.

The Gauls are currently on hiatus for the holiday break and will return to action in the new year. The team will host Providence Burbank at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, January 5 at Faculty Field, 4669 Webb Canyon Rd., Claremont.

Webb will then make the quick trip down Indian Hill Boulevard to play a nonleague match against Claremont High at 5 p.m. Saturday, January 5.

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