Claremont’s defense and goalkeeper Amanda Garvin come up big, beating defending champion Bishop Amat 2-0 in Division 3 title game

Claremont-Bishop Amat photo gallery.

Tom Kiss’ video highlights and interviews of Claremont’s 2-0 win

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
— Defense wins championships, but it sure helps to have great goalkeeping too.

Claremont High School central defenders Ariana Holmes and Taylor Fortson are imposing figures and a big reason the Wolfpack entered Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3 girls soccer title game against defending champion Bishop Amat without allowing a goal in the playoffs.

But who knows how the Wolfpack’s fortunes turn out without the incredible effort from goalkeeper Amanda Garvin.

Garvin helped the Wolfpack secure their seventh consecutive shutout by blanking the hottest scoring team in the playoffs with three head-shaking saves in the first half and Claremont took advantage of its scoring opportunities to secure its first girls soccer title since 1999 with a 2-0 victory over Bishop Amat at Mission Viejo High School.

Claremont, ranked third in the country by Maxpreps, improved to 27-1-4 while Bishop Amat dropped to 22-5-4. Both teams will be in the state playoffs, which begin on Tuesday.

Until then, Claremont’s going to enjoy its first section title in 13 years. (To continue click thread)

“Amanda was brilliant today,” Claremont coach Tim Tracey said. “I thought at the beginning they had a couple opportunities they should have put away. They had us on our heels a couple times, but Amanda did a fantastic job.”

Amat nearly scored in the first 15 seconds with April Juarez, who entered the game with 25 goals and 25 assists, taking the kickoff and sending a pass down the sideline for Joni Gener, who cut toward the goal and sent a shot off the crossbar.

Juarez turned and fired from the right side in the 12th minute, but Garvin saved a sure goal with a finger-tip save off the crossbar.

Then came Claremont’s big moment.

Fortson, bigger and more physical than anyone in the box, finished a corner kick with a snapping header that gave Claremont a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute.

“Every time we’ve gotten a goal in the first 15 or 20 minutes we’ve won the game,” Fortson said. “I saw it coming and I knew I had to get it. I was waiting for that goal all season.”

Amat, which had come back to win after trailing in every round in the playoffs, had its opportunities to equalize and take the lead, but Garvin wouldn’t allow it.

“She made three great saves that even if we get one the game changes,” Bishop Amat coach Ruben Gonzalez said. “We gave up a goal on a corner kick which we’ve been practicing and preaching. That’s how they (Claremont) score, on set pieces. We were unfortunate to give up that goal.”

On an 20-yard free kick straightaway in the 38th minute, Juarez curled a shot over the wall toward the left corner, but was turned away by a diving save from Garvin.

In the dying moments of the first half, Natalie Rivas beat her defender along the right side and sent a pass in front to a wide open Juarez 10-yards in the front of the goal, but Juarez’s shot was poked away by Garvin, who continued after the ball and reached out to secure it as Jamie Peters came racing in to knock it in. But the referee ruled Garvin had enough control of the ball to whistle it dead, negating the goal.

“Amanda did an amazing job, we almost got scored on twice,” Fortson said. “She really held it together for us. We made some dumb mistakes on defense. We left a couple girls open we shouldn’t of, but she came through for us.”

It only took Claremont four minutes to double its lead in the second half on a great finish from Merin Arft. Rebekah Evans found Arft and delivered a pass that Arft finished in the left corner for a 2-0 lead in the 44th minute.

At that point, Claremont took control and defended well, showing why it only has allowed 13 goals all year. Amat hit the crossbar again in the 78th minute, but was otherwise shut down the final 40 minutes.

For Gonzalez, it simply came down to Claremont taking advantage of its opportunities better than they did.

“You hit the nail on the head,” Gonzalez said. “We had opportunities and we didn’t put them away. Nine out of ten times April puts those balls away and we’re up 2-0, but you have to give their team and goalkeeper credit, they came up big. And when they had chances, they took care of them, that’s how it goes in this game.”

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  • Oh

    Good luck lady Lancers. Give it your best, and you will remember this game for the rest of your lives proudly. Be proud, be tough and play with heart and class.

  • Prep Fan

    3rd in nation is absolutely a great accomplishment. It should be noted that MaxPreps is ranking only the states that play soccer in the winter (7 states and southern California). This ranking does not include the 27 states (and northern California) which do soccer in the fall, nor the last 3rd of the country which does soccer in the spring.

  • HEHE

    There is always next year amat except for your seniors HAHAHA

  • Emily baker


    Your an a-hole who probably never even got that far

  • Claremont Fan

    Congrats Claremont Soccer! CIF Champions 2-0 over the Lancers. Way to go ladies!

  • GoAmat

    First of all CONGRATS Claremont! Secondly. Why would u post such a post from a idiot like hehe ha Fred? Seniors have a ring from last year!! But what do u know? Your just a idiot! Good job Amat!

  • Congratulations Claremont

    Claremont, a team comprised of ONE area, ONE school district vs BA, a team with players from all around. It makes the win even more special. What a great day for soccer!

  • congrats

    Congratulations Claremont, a school with players who attend school for free and with 2,000 more students to choose from.

  • Parent

    Congrats Claremont. You won with class

  • GoAmat

    You parents are so fuuny! Amat can’t make a kid go to a awesome school. Out of the area or from within the area. Its boils down to the parents choice. Post something new already!! But your one of the many that are happy Amat lost!

  • NobleFan76

    Does anyone believe that public schools are comprised of kids from one area or one school district? Those days are long gone.