On Wednesday afternoon, the girls’ soccer team won a thrilling semi-final match against the Mountain View Spartans. The game went all the way to penalty kicks among many close calls, spirited fans, and power outages.
M-A did not have power to use the scoreboard or PA system, so organizers were unsure whether the game could go on. Nonetheless, the game kicked off as scheduled, and the Bears looked to punch their ticket to the open division finals.
Junior Camille Melcher stated, “Our goal was never to go to penalties, but we knew it was a possibility so we just stayed locked in for every minute. Everyone left everything on the field, and we’re headed to the finals, where nobody expected us to be.”
The game started out with the Spartans controlling much of the possession. The Bears had to sit back and withstand sustained pressure, which they are unfamiliar with given their undefeated record. Junior defenders Avery Galles and Georgia Auerbach were both key for the Bears as both of them made key defensive plays in the first half.
The constant pressure from Mountain View eventually resulted in a shot that hit off the post. However, despite multiple close calls, the two teams went into halftime tied 0-0.
The second half proved to be much more even. Just five minutes in, M-A almost received a gift of a goal as the Mountain View goalkeeper almost let a low cross through her legs and into the net. The Bears applied much more pressure in the second half. Senior Jimena Sandoval and juniors Tatum Olesen and Valeri Latu-Nava all created chances for M-A going forward throughout the half.
Even though both teams had chances throughout the first 80 minutes, the two sides could not be split. Therefore, the game headed into overtime, which consisted of two 10-minute halves. The first overtime period was incredibly eventful. Early on, the Spartans had a chance to put the game away, but missed a wide open net, keeping the score tied.
Shortly after that, one of the Mountain View forwards recklessly tackled sophomore defender Brooke Fehrenbach and received a yellow card. At the end of the extra 20 minutes, there was still no winner, and the game went into penalty kicks.
After the Spartans put away their first penalty, junior Jordan Bradley stepped up and buried the Bears’ first shot. The second shooter for the Spartans sent her shot over the bar. M-A fans and senior goalkeeper Gigi Edwards erupted at the miss. With the score at 2-1, Auerbach calmly slotted her shot into the back of the net, followed by another miss by Mountain View, this time wide right. The Bears kept the pressure on as sophomore Alessia Bolaños put her shot away, increasing the Bears’ lead to 3-1. After a Spartan forward converted a penalty and their goalie saved an M-A attempt, Latu-Nava stepped forward to win the game for M-A.
As the fans fell silent, Latu-Nava kept her nerve and slid the ball into the bottom corner to send M-A to the CCS finals.
Latu-Nava said, “It is truly an indescribable feeling, to go through this type of game with a team I love so much, and winning is so rewarding. We all have each other’s backs, and I just knew I had to pull through for them.”
Auerbach added, “We just have to keep playing our game in the finals. We have already gotten this far, so winning the entire would mean everything to us, especially the seniors. They have been role models the entire season and have gotten us to where we are now.”
M-A takes on the Saint Francis Lancers on Saturday afternoon at Santa Clara University in the final match.