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Girls soccer stuns No. 1 Etiwanda in shootout

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Claremont High School girls soccer is on a tear with three big shutouts in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 tournament, including a stunning victory on penalty kicks over number one seed Etiwanda on Tuesday.

Although Claremont had the home field advantage, Etiwanda was the odds-on favorite, with an undefeated record and a Baseline League title. But during the game it was clear that neither team had the advantage either psychologically or athletically.

“We were up for the challenge. We allowed them to beat us in our first game of the season. We have evolved into a very strong team and are looking forward to the semifinals,” Coach Tim Tracey said.

Claremont almost scored in the opening minutes, which would have changed the entire dynamic of the game. In a flurry of activity in front of Etiwanda’s net, Maddie Coles did manage to sneak lazy meandering ball past the goalie, but Claremont was called offside and the goal was disallowed.

It was a fast-paced and well played game and the momentum switched from side to side throughout, giving each team chances to score. However, after 100 minutes of regulation and overtime, neither had found the net so it came down to penalty kicks.

“It was back and forth, momentum and possession shifted and both sides had opportunities in the second half and two overtime periods,” Coach Tracey said. “Everybody was able to keep [the other team] out of each other’s nets and it went to PKs.”

For those unfamiliar with soccer rules, if the teams are tied at the end of two overtime periods, the winner is selected through penalty kicks, a one-on-one face-off between  athletes selected for their shooting skills and the other team’s goalkeeper.

So both teams’ seasons came down to five shots on goal each and Claremont junior goalkeeper Gianna Bonnett and sophomore Alia Magallon came up big for the Pack.

Claremont went first in each round of penalty kicks and Etiwanda goalkeeper Maribel Laguna made saves in the second and third round, but Etiwanda missed in those rounds as well. Amelia Loeffler gave the Wolfpack a 2-1 lead in the fourth round and then Bonnett followed that with a save. Magallon’s successful boot in the fifth round clinched a 3-1 shootout victory.

“The atmosphere was incredible last night,” Coach Tim Tracey said. “We hit our fourth and our fifth and Gianna saved their fifth shot.”

As a side note, soccer can be a pretty rough sport, but Tuesday’s match was remarkably civil even though the stakes were high. The match was physical, but not violent so there were no yellow or red cards.

Claremont lost its season opener to Etiwanda, 2-0, back in March, however, over the course of the last two months, the Wolfpack has just gotten better every game, according to Coach Tracey.

Indeed with Tuesday’s win, Claremont has a ten-game winning streak, including nine shutouts. In the opening round of the playoffs the Pack defeated Oak Hills, 4-0, on May 12 in Claremont and then went on to blank Moorpark, 3-0, on Friday at Moopark.

Asked about his team’s success given the crazy year and the fact that up until February it looked like there might not be any high school sports this season, Coach Tracey mentioned the large crowd of enthusiastic fans as evidence of what this victory means not only to the team but Claremont, too.

“It’s gratifying not only for the athletes but for the school itself and also the community at large,” he said.

For now he is focused on the semis but Tuesday’s victory could qualify Claremont for a spot in the California State Regional tournament even if they lose on Saturday.

Claremont ended the regular season with a 8-2 record in Palomares League and a conference title. The girls overall record now stands at 14-3. The girls will face La Marada in the semifinal match at 5 p.m. at John Glenn High School in Norwalk.

 

 

 

 

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