Her team was deadlocked with Orcutt Academy in the 104th minute Tuesday and when Santa Maria freshman Paola Diaz launched a shot then, she didn't think her try would break the tie.
Diaz's pessimism was unfounded.
Turned out, Diaz, from about 40 yards out, had struck the ball perfectly. The ball bounded high into the net for a golden goal, giving the No. 11 Saints a stunning 3-2 win over the No. 6 Spartans in the second overtime of this CIF Central Section first-round Division 3 playoff game at Orcutt Community Park, Orcutt's home pitch.
The teams went scoreless in the two 10-minute periods of the first overtime. Diaz struck for her golden goal in the fourth minute of the first of two possible five-minute periods of the second overtime.
"I honestly didn't think it was going in," she said afterward.
"This was my first golden goal. We've been practicing volleys, and I just set it up and took a shot."
Diaz let the ball bounce off her leg then corralled it, uncorked a shot and scored.
Santa Maria (12-9-2) will play at No. 3 Visalia Golden West in the quarterfinals. The game is tentaively scheduled for Thursday at a time to be determined.
The Spartans (20-4-4) had s chance to win the game in the second 10-minute period of the first overtime, but Mecaelea Lopez's penalty kick went wide left.
The foul call in the Santa Maria penalty box that preceded the penalty try was met with a loud protest from the Santa Maria sideline.
In fact, some onlookers on both sides were testy with the officiating, and the referee had some brief words with both sidelines.
Meanwhile, the teams played an entertaining, spirited game. The Saints came back twice to tie the game in regulation.
Lopez, Brooke Stewart and Marianna Chavez helped Orcutt Academy keep the ball for the balance for the first half and, even though the Spartans had just a lone goal by Chavez in the ninth minute, they seemed in control even though they led just 1-0 at halftime.
Hope Smith, Kira Hopkins and Grace Denton helped the Spartans' defense cover most everything the Saints tried in the first half.
The Santa Maria attack gathered steam after the break and, after Orcutt Academy goalkeeper Abigail Valencia dove for the ball in the Spartans' penalty box and missed, Isabella Medina knocked the ball home in the third minute after the break to tie the score.
The Spartans re-gained momentum on offense and went ahead again when Taylor Martinez took a pass from Lopez and scored in the 10th minute after the break.
The Saints kept at it though, and Jocelyn Santiago, after working her way free in the Spartans' penalty box, knocked in the tying goal in the 15th minute after intermission.
Goalkeepers Valencia, and Sara Rodriguez of Santa Maria helped their teams stay tied the rest of the way in regulation. Defender Sarah Barbosa bailed out the Saints in the first half by thwarting several Orcutt Academy thrusts.
Hopkins cleared a lot of balls for the Spartans in the second half of regulation.
The Saints are in the playoffs for the first the first time in recent memory.
Hanford 80, Righetti 65
HANFORD — Five Bullpups scored in double figures, and No. 8 Hanford (22-6) beat the No. 9 Warriors ((13-10) in the first round of Division 1.
Natalie Garcia scored a game-high 21 points for Righetti. Mercedes Arredondo added 15.
Corin Camara led Hanford with 16 points. She buried four 3-pointers.
Sapphire Jones put in 15 points for the Bullpups. Tinisha Edwards scored 13 points, Kylie Maya added 12 and Michaela Young had 11.
Nipomo 0, Santa Ynez 0 (nine innings, darkness)
Both squads had identical solid pitching numbers, and the teams played to a scoreless draw. The non-league game was called because of darkness.
Nipomo starter Ricardo Rodriguez and reliever Anthony Campos combined for seven strike outs and gave up four hits between them. Santa Ynez starter Merrek Mercado and reliever Justin Kosloski did the same.