NCS Win Caps Torturous Season for Soccer

Marko Durovic, Staff Writer

The North Coast Section championship game proved  just as difficult as the season leading up to it for the girls’ soccer squad.  The game was played on the afternoon of Saturday, March 1 at Dougherty Valley High School.

After battling to a draw through regulation play and two overtime periods ,the team finally finished off Las Lomas, and wrapped up a tumultuous season, by outscoring the Knights in a penalty kick shootout, 8-7.

The Cougars entered the NCS title game with a good read on their opponent. “Since we play against Las Lomas so much during the regular season it didn’t really feel like a playoff game,” said junior AJ Morgan. “We went into it like it was just another game, and we didn’t let the importance of the game affect our focus,” she said.

Both league games between the teams were  close. One ended in a tie, the other a Campolindo victory off a last minute score.

Fittingly, the teams posted a 1-1 tie in regulation play of the championships game. The tie persisted after two “sudden death” overtime periods.

The Cougars were not discouraged. “We always play close games against them,” said junior Sammy Vankoll.

With a crowd of supporters cheering from the Dougherty Valley grandstands, the teams were forced to trade penalty shots to determine the winner.

“I was really scared since I was the first one to shoot,” Vankoll said. “Everyone was looking at me and there were so many people in the stands who were making noise.”

Some would argue that just making it to the final was a huge achievement consider the number of setbacks the Cougars encountered through the season.

Over the final weeks of their championship run sophomore Bailey Yuen was knocked out with a contusion, and team captain Emily Orwig injured her right ankle.

Then, goalkeeper Emily Parish  injured her ankle in the semi-final game against Bishop O’Dowd. She had to leave that game, but was able to return for the championship. “I spent 16 hours in the training room with Ray in the four days leading up to the game,” she said. “I was really worried because I couldn’t dive to my left at all.”

Head Coach Ernesto Silva said, “Injuries became a real threat to our NCS hopes. However, with our player’s determination and the amazing work by our trainer, Ray Albiento, everyone was ready to play.”

Silva was very happy with his team’s performance and determination throughout the season. “I am very proud. We worked hard to achieve a common goal and when it was all said and done we were one!” he said.