By Fred J. Robledo
The Bishop Amat and Los Altos girls soccer teams fell a game short of meeting in last year’s CIF-Southern Section Division 4 championship – both ousted in the semifinals and ruining a much-anticipated rematch after a 0-0 tie earlier that season.
And what a season it was, the soccer powers with a combined record of 52-3-2 while outscoring their opponents 207-19. Although a year late, the rematch finally came on Thursday at Los Altos in front of a better-than-expected December crowd.
Neither team has been as dominant out of the gate, particularly on the defensive end, which led to Bishop Amat’s come-from-behind 3-1 victory after trailing 1-0 at half.
Bishop Amat, Los Altos photo gallery.
Above: Natalie Rivas (8) celebrates after scoring in the second half to tie the score, 1-1.
The Conquerors received their lone goal from Cal State Fullerton-bound attacker Lauren Stupin, who notched 26 goals and 15 assists last season.
Stupin took a long throw in the fifth minute, cut to free herself, then delivered a low-driving shot in the left corner for a 1-0 lead.
The Conquerors continued to dominate the first half, missing a breakaway in the 28th minute and another chance by Stupin in the 29th minute that was turned away cleanly by Amat goalkeeper Nicole Ragano.
“We had our chances,” said Conquerors coach Chris Reeder after dropping to 4-2-2 on the season. “It was a game of two different halves, we dominated the first half and they dominated the second half.”
Neither team created much from the run of play, partly because Los Altos’ stadium field was in such bad shape, but the Lancers took advantage of opportunities in the final third.
Amat midfielder Yazmin Montoya sent a shot off the far post that Natalie Rivas cleaned up, scoring in the 48th minute to tie the score, 1-1.
Then in was reigning Tribune player of the year April Juarez’s turn.
Juarez, who had 35 goals as a sophomore last year, gathered a ball from Rivas and fired the go-ahead goal for a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute.
Vanessa Bommarito put the game away, sending a long 30-yard shot that dipped under the bar in the 63rd minute to give the Lancers a two-goal cushion.
It was a good win for the Lancers (9-1) after suffering their only loss, a 6-2 setback against Ayala last week, partly because three starting defenders were out sick.
“They (Los Altos) obviously had a couple opportunities while were finding our footing on the turf and I told them at halftime it’s going to come down to who wants it more,” Lancers coach Ruben Gonzalez said. “Los Altos is a real good team, they’re not going to give you anything, you have to earn it. I thought our girls came back in the second half and earned the win.”
Lauren Stupin celebrates for Los Altos after her first-half goal gave the Conqs a 1-0 lead.