Bishop Amat High School’s April Juarez scored the equalizer in the 70th minute, but she was disappointed as La Salle celebrates Friday’s 1-1 draw.
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
While La Salle gained some much needed swagger heading into next week’s CIF-Southern Section Division 4 girls soccer playoffs, top-ranked Bishop Amat found out what it was made of with its undefeated season in jeopardy. Guess that’s why Friday’s 1-1 draw after 80 minutes and two overtimes was appealing to both coaches.
Amat rallied in the second half to tie the match after trailing for the first time all season, and La Salle scored and got a result against one of the stingiest teams in recent memory.
Bishop Amat was hoping for it 22nd shutout, which would have tied them for fifth all-time in CIF-SS history with San Gorgonio, who had 22 in 1987-88. If Amat gets its 22nd shutout in the playoffs, it would be the most by a Southern Section team this century.
As it was, Amat (24-0-2, 7-0-1) gave up just its sixth goal of the season — though it was an own goal in the 60th minute when Samantha Whitehead’s cross deflected off Amat sweeper Jasmine Roth to give La Salle a 1-0 lead.
“It was a great result, it’s all about peaking at the right time,” La Salle head coach Edgar Manvelyan said. “We wanted to hold them and counter, hold them and counter, and for the most part we did a great job.
“But they’re a great attacking team, and they got one, that’s why they have more than a 100 goals (107 total).”
Bishop Amat sophomore April Juarez missed an opportunity in the first half, having a goal called back on an offside in the 18th minute.
But with Amat in danger of losing, Juarez finished a difficult chance with defenders draped all over her.
Freshman Yazmin Montoya fed her a pass about eight-yards straightaway. Juarez settled, turned and fired all in one motion, the ball ending up in the right corner to tie the match in the 70th minute.
“She’s very good, very skillful,” Manvelyan said of Juarez, who tallied her 32nd goal to go with 22 assists. “You just have to mark her tight and not give her any space. But even when we did, she had good control and made a wonderful turn on that finish.”
In the first overtime, Roth nearly made up for her own goal on a corner from Juarez, but her header sailed inches over the crossbar.
Amat kept pressing in the second overtime, Juarez clearing free for a moment, but La Salle goalkeeper Cassidy Rey turned her away, allowing the visiting Lancers (15-5-5, 3-3-2) to escape what seemed like a handful of Amat opportunities as the final whistle neared.
Amat’s last chance came on a free kick at the top of the penalty area with a minute left, but Juarez’s shot skidded inches past the left post.
Considering Bishop Amat hadn’t been in a close game since drawing with Los Altos (0-0) back in December, this may have been just what it needed with the playoffs starting next week.
“The adversity is going to help us in the playoffs,” Bishop Amat coach Ruben Gonzales said. “Maybe it was senior night, I don’t know, but we never found a rhythm today.
“I thought the goal they disallowed (by Juarez) was a bad call and changed the dynamic of the game. But it was good to see us battle back and in that situation, because you’re going to have games like that in the playoffs.”