By Fred J. Robledo
LA PUENTE — Claremont knew was it was getting against top-seed Bishop Amat in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 girls soccer semifinals on Tuesday, a team that had scored over a 100 goals on the season, and had a 41-goal scorer in Stanford-bound senior Sophia Serafin, who knocked in six goals in the quarterfinals.
But Claremont had a plan, and it worked to perfection, scoring early and holding off Bishop Amat and Serafin 1-0 to advance to the championship against second-seed South Torrance, a 5-2 winner over Flintridge Prep on either Friday or Saturday. The dates and times of the final will be released Wednesday.
Claremont’s Oxsana Sosnovsky sent a long throw in front of Amat’s goal in the 20th minute, and somehow Mackenzie Boulware emerged from the crowd to score.
The lone goal stood up, but Claremont (23-2-2) had to withstand a flurry of Amat (24-4) chances, especially in the second half.
“We bent, but we didn’t break,” Claremont coach Tim Tracey said. “I’m very proud of our team. Bishop Amat came after us hard again and again. I’m just glad we were able to absorb what they threw at us to advance.”
How rare is a shutout over Bishop Amat? It was the first all season, and snapped Amat’s 14-game winning streak.
“Claremont did what they had to do, they got the early goal,” Bishop Amat coach Guillermo Gonzalez said. “We knew they were dangerous on set pieces and they got us.”
Claremont central defenders Hope Hyland, Katie Weaver and a host of others shadowed Serafin throughout, but Serafin was not without her chances.
She nearly tied the game on two headers minutes apart early in the second half, and was tripped-up for a penalty kick in the 65th minute, but she missed the penalty, steering it wide right.
“We had our chances in the second half and the missed PK was tough,” Gonzalez said. “It’s always tough against a good defensive team to get any goals, but they did a great job keeping us off the scoreboard.”
Amat has lots of weapons, but clearly the focus was Serafin.
“We were going to double-team her anytime she received the ball,” Tracey said. “We didn’t want to allow her to turn to her strong foot. It was unfortunate she missed the PK, but for the most part, we did a good job keeping her in front of us and away from shooting on frame.”
The Wolfpack really had to roll up their sleeves the final 10 minutes after losing sophomore forward Sophie Jones to a red card, but still hung on with 10 players. Jones will have to sit out the final because of the ejection.
Ironically, Claremont’s last title came in 2012, beating Bishop Amat 2-0 in the championship.
“These girls worked so hard, they deserve the opportunity to play for a title,” Tracey said.
CIF-Southern Section Playoffs Schedule
La Mirada 2, Temecula Valley 1, double overtime
Claremont 1, Bishop Amat 0
South Torrance 5, Flintridge Prep 2
Crean Lutheran 1, Gabrielino 0
San Gabriel Mission 2, Lennox Academy 1