Above: Samantha Whitehead’s tremendous speed was matched by Cathedral City’s team speed. The Lancers lost in penalties, 4-1. (Photo courtesy of John Blackstock)
TODAY’S QUARTERFINALS RESULTS
Cathedral City 2, La Salle 2 (Cathedral City wins on PK’s, 4-1): Seemingly, nothing could go wrong for the La Salle High School girls soccer team in the first half. But then came the second half. Playing a little too relaxed and underestimating Cathedral City’s relentless effort proved to be costly for the Lancers. The Lions powered their way back from a two-goal deficit in the first half to tie the game in regulation and eventually winning, 4-1, on penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division IV playoffs. The tide had seemingly turned shortly after Cathedral City (16-5-5) got to within 2-1 in the 55th minute. It had been quite some time before the Lions were consistently adding pressure in the final third and it was only a matter of time until Emily Boffa scored on a left-foot volley off a Maria Grbavac corner kick. And after Boffa’s goal there was a significant change in mood on the field. When the teams got back in formation to re-start play, the Lions looked much more loose and the Lancers (15-7-5) appeared tight. Cathedral City’s overall team speed eventually wore down La Salle, and that couldn’t have been more evident when Jessie LaFrance split two defenders and sent a shot past the keeper and into the far post to tie the game, 2-2, in the 71st minute.
South Torrance 2, Maranatha 0: When the final whistle blew, the Maranatha High School girls soccer team slowly limped off the field. For 80 minutes, the Minutemen sacrificed their bodies. Kimmie Sommers’ tears from immense lower back pain — and an even tougher loss to swallow — was proof of that. For 80 minutes, Maranatha ran in long stretches and showed glimpses of its ability to at times keep up with the much faster South Torrance team. Jessica Austin did her best to keep the large crowd in the game. They battled to the bitter end and when it was all over, the Minutemen were spent after leaving every ounce of energy on the field. Maranatha’s 2-0 loss in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division V playoffs Thursday night was not indicative of how close the Minutemen came from limping away with smiles on their faces instead of tears. But the harsh reality was that the Aztecs (21-3-5) countered well and their team speed trumped that of Maranatha’s (16-7-5). There was little South Torrance couldn’t do. They not only ran past defenders but also matched every bit of intensity and physicalness Maranatha exhibited.
El Segundo 2, La Caada 0: The visiting Eagles (19-4-1) proved to be too athletic, scoring a goal in each half to beat the Spartans (16-5-2) in the Division V playoffs. La Caada played exceptional the first 15 minutes but it all ended when senior forward Caroline Na suffered a knee injury and had to be carted off the field. And with the Spartans’ catalyst no longer in the game, El Segundo gained momentum and limited La Caada’s scoring opportunities. “We were the best team for the first 15 minutes,” Spartans coach Louie Bilowitz said. “We played great soccer and had four great shots, two of which hit the cross bar. We lost control of the game with (Na’s) injury.”
Bilowitz, who has coached soccer for 25 years including the last six as the Spartans coach, said he was extremely proud of his girls since La Caada last season was ousted in the first round. “Nobody expected this team to get as far as they did,” he said. “This is the first team that doesn’t have two or three dominant players. With this team, the reason I love it so much, is because they share the ball. “They’re not looking for the star player. Everybody’s participating and there were no egos involved. It’s just been a wonderuful team to coach and I was very honored to have coached this team.”
Alverno 6, Saddleback Valley Christian 1: Senior Jessica Capra scored two second-half goals to lead the Alverno High School girls soccer team to a 6-1 win over Saddleback Valley Christian on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division VII playoffs. The second-seeded Jaguars (17-1-2) will play the CAMS-St. Paul winner in Tuesday’s semifinals, at a site to be determined. Capra scored in the 76th and 77th minute to give Alverno 4-1 and 5-1 leads.