By Fred J. Robledo, SGVN
If there is anything worse than having to sit through a trophy presentation as the runner-up team, it’s having to do it twice.
That’s how the season ended for the Bishop Amat High School girls soccer team after losing to Santa Margarita 2-1 in the CIF-State Southern California Regional Division II championship at Warren High School in Downey on Saturday.
A week after losing to Claremont in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 title game, Santa Margarita’s Samantha Trenary ended Amat’s title hopes with a 25-yard shot that dipped over the outstretched arms of Lancers goalkeeper Nicole Ragano in the 72nd minute for the game winner.
“It’s tough to lose in two finals because we feel like we didn’t play as well as we could have,” Lancers coach Ruben Gonzalez said. “We missed chances against Claremont and today I thought we battled and wanted it, we just didn’t play our best soccer.
“Sometimes instead of passing the ball we would take a shot and instead of shooting we would pass it. We made some poor decisions, that’s what’s disappointing about getting to two finals and not winning. But you look back and this team fought and gave us all some good memories this season, that’s for sure.” (To continue click thread)
One of Amat’s big problems in the postseason was falling behind. The Lancers trailed in every playoff round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs and rallied back to win every game except in the final against Claremont.
In the CIF-State semifinals, the Lancers rallied in the final 10 minutes to force overtime and won in sudden-death against Cathedral Catholic, 3-2.
Right on cue, Santa Margarita took a 1-0 lead thanks to a strong run and finish down the right side by junior Bryce Ziemer, who angled her shot past Ragano in the 28th minute.
Junior midfielder Yazmin Montoya got the Lancers back in it with a goal in the 43rd minute and both teams traded opportunities to go in front during the second half, but it was the Eagles who were finally able to knock one in with eight minutes left, and this time, there was no miracle comeback left for Amat.
“We had tired legs and they had tired legs, that’s why there were so many chances near the end,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez didn’t want to use it as an excuse, but looking back, he was proud of what the Lancers accomplished given their injury situation on defense.
“Almost the entire playoffs we had to play without (starting central defender) Alyssa Cabral (injured ankle) who kind of settles everything down for us and is our leader in the back because she reads the game so well,” Gonzalez said.
Cabral is a two-time Del Rey League first-team defender who was injured in the second round of the CIF-SS divisional playoffs and returned only for a few minutes in the championship against Claremont last week.
“She (Cabral) brings intangibles you can’t coach or teach and not having her is a big reason we would give up first goals and trailed so much,” Gonzalez said. “We would lose focus and even today we lost focus. That’s why it’s a credit to our team to lose a player like Alyssa and still get to two finals.
“We had players that stepped up and they battled back and won some big playoff games when it looked like our season would be over a lot sooner.”
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