Girls Soccer Quarterfinals: Bishop Amat rallies in final minutes to beat Ayala 4-3; St. Lucy’s, Chino Hills, Claremont and San Dimas all win

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).

Game Story: South Pasadena too much for Sierra Vista in quarterfinals, wins 4-0

Game Story: Claremont takes down visiting Diamond Bar in quarterfinals, 1-0

Game Story: Chino Hills continues postseason run with win over Bonita, 5-1

Game Story: St. Lucy’s reaches the semis after beating Valencia, 2-1

Above: St. Lucy’s celebrating 2-1 win over Placentia Valencia

Friday’s Quarterfinal Results
Division 3
Chino Hills 5, Bonita 1
Bishop Amat 4, Ayala 3
Claremont 1, Diamond Bar 0
St. Lucy’s 2, Placentia Valencia 1
Division 6
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.”

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  • Amat Dad

    Wow, what a game. Ayala came out very aggressive and looked like they wanted it more. It looked like they wanted to avenge the game from last season. I really thought they showed more heart in the first half. Amat woke up at the end of the first half, and they realized Ayala was not going to back off or tire out. But the mighty Lady Lancers pulled it off. They came together in the final minutes and just bullied their way to score. I am very proud of what I saw today. Not to take anything away from Ayala, because they looked very good and played very hard, but the Lancers did it……Congrats Ladies

  • Regent Gary


    Why is a 11-9-4 Ayala team playing BA the game of the year? There are 4 very good teams in the Sierra League and 3 are still playing.

  • Fred Robledo

    The fact Ayala was 11-9-4 had nothing to do with it, I’ve watched many games over the years, the back and forth and comeback it was made it so exciting.

  • Regent Gary

    It may have been an exciting game ,but to call it the “game of the year”, with games remaining ,may be premature. That’s all I’m saying.

  • LA Conq

    Gary relax bro. I’m sure Fred means “up to this point”. He can’t tell the future for Gods sake!

  • Mike

    Who won between Bonita and Chino Hills?

  • GoAmat


  • Me :)

    Mike – Bonita loss 5 – 1

  • Linda

    Ayala coach is a jackass for calling his girls donkeys!
    Go Amat!!

  • Go Regents

    We are focusing on all the wrong things here… Congratulations to Bishop Amat, St. Lucy’s, Chino Hills and Claremont. This is HUGE!!!! To have four San Gabiel Valley top teams all competing in the semi-finals is a remarkable feat and a testament to the athletism in girls sports in the area.
    Fred: It sounds like it was a great game to be at. Its unfortunate that the coach from Ayala called his girls in he second half. The season is done for them and their star player came back to help her team despite the personal tragedy her family has faced. His girls deserved better.

    Good luck to our remaining four teams.

  • Fred Robledo

    Great final four on Tuesday in D-3 and love San Dimas’ chances of bringing home a title in D-6. My thoughts on watching Ayala’s lead slip away on Amat wasn’t that Ayala played terrible defense, I thought they should have adjusted better after scoring to take a 3-1 lead 10 minutes into the second half. Instead of bunkering up and playing everyone behind the ball to protect the lead and frustrate Amat, they continued to attack and with Amat sending everyone forward, that provided the opportunities for the Lancers. When you have a great all around player like Doniak, maybe you drop her to a def. mid role up two goals. At that point, you only need one attacker up front for counters. When I saw Amat’s Natalie Rivas leave Doniak and go into attacking mode my first thoughts were who’s going to drop back and mark Rivas for Ayala. Not sure if they accounted for her after Amat made the switch.