By John Sherrard Correspondent
WHITTIER – The Bishop Amat and La Serna high school girls soccer teams have taken similar roads recently in the CIF-Southern Section postseason.
Both were CIF-SS runner-ups last season and each have won a championship in different divisions.
Bishop Amat (5-2-1), however, got the upper hand Thursday with a late goal to pull out a 1-0 win over host La Serna in a nonleague game.
“The girls stepped it up (Thursday) and defensively we played really well,” Bishop Amat coach Ruben Gonzalez said.
“Neither of these teams deserved to lose, but we’ll take the win.”
With less than six minutes remaining, Amat senior defender Demi Lomeli took a corner kick from senior midfielder Yazmin Montoya and knocked the ball in with her shin, just two yards in front of the far post for the game’s lone goal in the 74th minute.
Prior to the goal, Montoya took a corner from the same spot but the La Serna defense knocked the ball away.
“I was hoping it (ball) would come back, because I knew there was open space in the back,” Lomeli said, who scored her first goal of the season. “She (Montoya) crossed it and I thought it was coming in slow motion toward me. I was just sprinting in, hoping I could get anything since it was a tough game and I just threw myself and my left leg hit it.”
“Last year we played to a tie, so we really wanted the win.”
La Serna (2-2-1), ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 5, played great defense in the first half, led by senior Alexander Kidd and junior Amanda Garwacki.
La Serna had numerous opportunities to score in the first half, including an attempt inside the 18-yard box in the 37th minute by senior Danielle Telles, but Bishop Amat goalkeeper Evelyn Fierros came way out for the save. Fierros had 10 saves in the game.
Telles, who was an All-CIF selection last season, took a long pass from senior forward Moriah Early, but couldn’t convert.
Early, also an All-CIF forward, is headed to USC next year.
Early in the second half, La Serna again came out with more scoring opportunities. Perhaps, the best chance at a goal came on back-to-back plays in the 58th minute.
Sophomore winger Yzabal Miranda attempted a shot in close and Early picked up the loose ball and had a clear shot but it went wide right of the Amat keeper.
Two minutes later, Early again attempted a shot from about 30 yards out but went wide right again.
“That’s what it really came down to,” La Serna coach Tessa Troglia said.
“We created far more chances and our lack of finishing those opportunities hurt us. It’s just that last touch that we’re unable to put it in the net.”
Amat, which won a CIF-SS Division 3 title in 2011, was nursing some injuries and awaiting the arrival of a couple of transfers, who are sitting out the mandatory 30 days.
Senior Kathleen Zamora, who is a two-time All-CIF forward, was playing back on defense for Amat.
Bishop Amat will play Dana Hills on Wednesday in the Mater Dei tournament, while La Serna plays at the Bellflower tournament against Bellflower.