Bishop Amat scores three goals in final 15 minutes, and twice in last four minutes to beat Ayala 4-3
By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
The Bishop Amat girls soccer team has been part of some incredible comebacks over the years, but this may trump them all.
The Lancers needed all of their championship swagger and used the finishing touches of a little-known freshman to shock host Ayala, 4-3, in a wild comeback thriller in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinals on Friday.
Amat, which beat Ayala in last year’s title game, overcame a two- goal deficit with 15 minutes to play and scored twice in the final four minutes to pull off the stunner, getting the game-winner from freshman Jamie Peters on a cross from Miranda Joya in the 78th minute to send the Lancers (21-4-4) to Tuesday’s semifinals, where they will host Chino Hills, a 5-1 winner over Bonita.
“Wow,” were the first words out of Bishop Amat coach Ruben Gonzalez’s mouth. “You got to believe in God and in miracles. You need luck when you make runs deep into the playoffs. It was one of those games and fortunately for us we were on the wining side.” (To continue click thread).
Above: St. Lucy’s celebrating 2-1 win over Placentia Valencia
Friday’s Quarterfinal Results
Chino Hills 5, Bonita 1
Bishop Amat 4, Ayala 3
Claremont 1, Diamond Bar 0
St. Lucy’s 2, Placentia Valencia 1
San Dimas 2, Loara 1
South Pasadena 4, Sierra Vista 0
For Ayala coach Jeff Allen, watching a lead slip away was tough to swallow. The Bulldogs finished the season 11-9-4.
“Defense was a joke, it was a joke,” Allen said. “They (Amat) created space all over the place. We gave them space at midfield and they kept running at us with numbers. If we don’t give them the ball every single time they don’t have chances. I don’t know what to say, we played like donkeys in the second half.”
Amat’s comeback was complete in the waning moments of the game with a wide-eyed Peters saying that Miranda’s cross stayed in the air forever and when it landed, she collected herself and practically ran the ball across the line to finish the unbelievable comeback.
“I kept telling myself the game’s not over until the final whistle blows,” Peters said. “The ball was coming right at me and I knew I had to fight for it.”
Ayala took a 2-0 lead in the first 25 minutes on picture-perfect finishes from Ekaette Afia and Virginia-bound striker Makenzy Doniak, but Amat’s April Juarez cut the lead in half after receiving a through ball from Yazmin Montoya in the final seconds of the half to trim the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-1 at halftime.
Ayala’s Mariah Sims made it 3-1 with an incredible 50-yard free kick that dropped in the upper-left corner. Amat goalkeeper Nicole Ragano got there in time, but had trouble tracking the ball in the sun.
That’s when Gonzalez had a decision to make, sending Rivas to the forward line. Rivas had the job of shadowing Doniak after senior defender Alyssa Cabral turned her ankle in the second round and couldn’t play, but down two goals, Gonzalez said it was worth the risk.
Rivas came through, scoring from an difficult angle cutting toward the goal from the left endline, firing it home to trim the Bulldogs’ lead to 3-2 in the 75th minute.
Then Rivas was at it again, sliding a through ball to sophomore Joni Gener, who made an even better spin move to free herself before firing home the tying goal in the 76th minute.
“She’s been up and down all season,” Gonzalez said of Rivas. “Last year she stepped up in the playoffs and here she goes again. We asked her for a hard task to contain Doniak because you really can’t stop her. But down two goals it didn’t matter if we lost 4-1 or 5-1, we wanted to see if we could get back in the game and they showed the heart of a champion.”
Rivas doesn’t know why these big moments always seem to come in playoffs, she’s just glad they happen.
“I just told myself no matter what happens I have to go for it,” Rivas said. “Marking
Doniak is amazing, I have a lot of respect for her. I’m just glad we won and that my coaches trusted in me to give the responsibility that he did.”
Jener looked like she wanted to pinch herself.
“It’s just a great feeling,” Gener said. “The adrenaline is rushing through and even though you’re down, I just kept giving myself positive thoughts. This team is incredible.”