Video highlights and interviews with the Inland Insider from Bishop Amat’s 1-0 victory over Ayala in the Division 3 title game Friday night.
Amat wins first title: It was payback time for Bishop Amat. After being thoroughly dominated every way imaginable in a lopsided loss to Ayala in December, the Bishop Amat girls soccer team avenged its only blemish with a flawless performance in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship at Warren High School in Downey on Friday. Amat sophomore Natalie Rivas’ first-half goal stood up and Amat’s defense did the rest in a 1-0 victory that gives the Lancers (27-1) their first championship ever. (To continue, click thread or click link).
Saints lose, 2-0: In advancing past the second round of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs for the first time, the San Dimas High School girls soccer team willed itself to explore a brave new world this season and liked what it found, even if its world came crashing down in Friday’s Division 6 championship game.
The Saints’ unprecedented success and first foray into a CIF-SS title game culminated with a harsh conclusion as they were held to four shots and blanked 2-0 by top-seeded St. Margaret’s at Mission Viejo High School.
Note: If my sources are good Saints fans, I’m hearing that the Saints will make the Division 2 Southern California Regional playoffs along with Bishop Amat, which start Monday. The pairings are announced Sunday on cifstate.org
Division 6 championship
St. Marget’s 2, San Dimas 0, final
Division 3 championship
Bishop Amat 1, Ayala 0, final
“They wanted this game, they wanted a chance to revenge what happened the fist time,” Bishop Amat coach Ruben Gonzalez said. “They just played their hearts out. It’s been such a long year and to be able to end it with a CIF championship is amazing.”
It was anything like the first meeting, won 6-2 by Ayala with super striker Makenzy Doniak scoring four goals.
Amat didn’t have defenders Jessie Gener and Alyssa Cabral in that game, but their presence obviously made a difference in the sequel.
“They pulled us into the game they wanted to play instead of allowing us to play our game,” said Ayala coach Jeff Allen. “They played so hard with so much energy and they were flying all over the field.”
Then there’s the star of the postseason for the Lancers, the young speedy Rivas, who once again provided the fireworks on a goal that Bulldogs goalkeeper Alicen Wright could do nothing about.
Gener sent a long free kick toward the penalty area that Rivas back-headed with laser-like precision, sailing it off the back post and through, just past the outstretched arms of Wright.
It was a one-of-a-kind finish in the 26th minute, and for Rivas, her fifth goal of the playoffs after scoring just three during the regular season.
“I just got to it right away,” Rivas said of the goal. “When it went it, it was like, ‘yes.” We needed to win this game, they beat us 6-2 and felt so confident. I think they were overconfident. We knew we could beat them because we have a good team too.”
Then she turned to her team and just kept talking.
“We’re not use to this,” Rivas said. “we’ve never won a championship and now we get our blue banner and rings. Wow.”
Doniak, who verbally committed to Virginia, was her dangerous self, but Cabral came to play, her job to shadow Doniak throughout.
“She’s an amazing player,” Gonzalez said of Doniak. “We had a marker
and had someone waiting for her, plus we made sure we had numbers back at all times. We didn’t want to give her anything easy.”
Cabral couldn’t stop her completely, but she made her work for every
chance along with help from Gener.
“They did a really good job of putting a body on us no matter where we went,” Allen said. “Especially with Doniak and we didn’t react very well to that. We had nothing really clean the entire game, and that’s a credit to Amat’s energy.”
Doniak’s best chance came on a cross over the middle early in the first half that she couldn’t convert. Ayala’s Jocelyn Alvizo did all the work along the right side, beating a defender and sliding a pass back over the middle for Doniak, who missed left from eight yards in the 28th minute.
Amat goalkeeper Alexis Carillo followed a great first half with a with a big breakaway save on Doniak in the 50th minute, meeting her at the top of the penalty area before she could get off a shot.
It was a difficult loss for the top-ranked Bulldogs, who were looking for their first title since 1995. The Bulldogs dropped to 21-5-3, but are still in the hunt for a Southern California Regional Division I playoff berth.
Bishop Amat is in the Division 2 Southern California Regional playoffs, which start Monday. The pairings are announced Sunday afternoon in cifstate.org.