For the second consecutive season, the Knights’ walked off their home pitch teary-eyed, but with their heads held high.
In a highly competitive CIF Southern Section Division 3 second round game, the St. Joseph girls soccer team gave the No. 2 ranked Bishop Amat Lancers all they could handle. However, with a 1-0 loss Tuesday afternoon, the Knights were eliminated from the postseason by the Lancers (24-1) for the second time in as many years.
A laser of a goal in the 17th minute by the Lancers’ Yazmin Montoya proved to be the game-winner and for the second straight year the Knights’ heart-breaker.
“It’s tough; tough because we talked a lot about set-piece work, which is what we gave up,” said St. Joseph head coach Landon Reid.
“They were better the whole game, we came out listless and never really got into a good rhythm today.”
Last season the Knights lost 3-2 at home to the Lancers in the Division 5 quarterfinals.
The Lancers played the short-corner on the goal-scoring piece. Montoya sent the ball short to her teammate in front of the goal, who in turn passed it back to Montoya about 20 yards out. After regaining possession, the sophomore fired the ball into the far-upper corner of the net to make it 1-0.
The game’s play after the goal became frantic as the Knights pressed to find the equalizer, while the Lancers returned fire with counter strikes if the Knights found themselves too deep in the Bishop Amat half.
Both teams’ looks at the goal were often spoiled by tremendous goalie play.
In the third minute, Bishop Amat’s starting goalkeeper Alexis Carillo was felled by a collision with an oncoming Knights player, forcing backup Nicole Ragano off the bench and into action. After some shaky — or nervous — first few plays, Ragano was composed between the posts and thwarted several Knights’ scoring chances.
“She was ready to play,” Lancers coach Ruben Gonzalez said of Ragano. “We played them both an equal amount of time this year for that reason.
“You always fear that injury — she was ready and responded well.”
Ragano made six total saves in the game.
Carillo had her knee in a brace and was lifted off the field by the training staff. Initial indications were that she had a broken leg. She was later taken to the hospital for X-rays.
The Knights had a devastating injury of their own. Senior defender Dani McKinsey, with a knee brace already on her left leg, was contacted by a Lancer player and fell hard to the ground with an apparent right knee injury in the 29th minute. She would not return to the game.
In the second half, the Knights had several scoring chances, including shots from Taylor Will and Mallory McNulty that were either just off-line or deflected by Ragano.
St. Joseph goalkeeper Marissa Pule played incredibly in her last game for the Knights. She stopped several point-blank shots; miraculously deflecting some as she dove, fully-stretched in midair.
Pule is one of six seniors that will graduate from this year’ squad.
“This senior class has meant a lot,” Reid said. “We got great leadership from Dani McKinsey; rock-solid midfielding from Penelope Toogood and Marissa Pule was outstanding and unbelievable today — she made at least three saves that were sure goals, they were fantastic. Brianna Mosby has been a real catalyst because she’s played wherever I’ve needed her and Taylor (Will) is the all-time leader in just about every stat we have.
“We’re going to miss these kids terribly. The thing we’ll miss most about this group is their passion.”
Statistically, Tuesday’s game was fairly even. Bishop Amat outshot St. Joseph 14-13 and possession was right around 50-50. However, it’s the Lancers who will be moving on to the quarterfinals.
“St. Joseph is a very good team,” Gonzalez said. “Last year we got lucky and this year we got lucky. They are a very good team and we got no favors even though we were the No. 2 seed.”
Santa Ynez 1, Acton Vasquez 0ACTON — The Pirates made their long journey to the high desert 20 miles east of Santa Clarita pay off with a win in the second round of the CIF SS Division 5 playoffs.
Kaci Mexico scored the only goal of the game in the 77th minute.
Santa Ynez coach Rob Cantrell said the Vasquez goalkeeper misplayed the ball in a scramble in the Vasquez penalty box and then Mexico knocked the ball in.
Santa Ynez, the Los Padres League co-champion, will host Downey at 3 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.
“We had good ball possession despite the super saturated field, with the last of the snow melting,” Cantrell said.
Cabrillo 1, Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon 0Amberly Oltmer scored in the 31st minute as the Los Padres League co-champions won in the second round and advanced to the Division 5 quarterfinals.
Brianna Farley and Stephanie Miranda assisted on Oltmer’s goal.
Cabrillo goalkeeper Kristina Goodchild made nine saves. Temescal Canyon goalie Maegan Ariaz racked up 17.
Cabrillo will play Riverside Woodcrest Christian at 3 p.m. Thursday.