Lady vikes nearly clinch CIF soccer title

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Rodrigo Perez

With the CIF Championship on the line, Brandi Neilan, 12, gets the ball past the Desert Christian’s defensive players, on March 4, at Justice Stadium. Neilan was fouled on the play and scored after her penalty kick.

The end to a phenomenal season took place for the ladies soccer team as they lost 2-1 to the Desert Christian Knights March 4, at Warren’s Justice Stadium. Coming into the game confident after beating semi-finalist La Serna, the Vikes were looking to go home with those beloved CIF rings.

“Going into the final I was really excited about playing,” senior midfielder Daisy Cabrera said. “It was what we had been fighting for.”

The game kicked off with the visiting team in possession. There wasn’t much in the beginning of the match. Downey’s defenders stood strong at the back, but at the same time the visiting Knights were a wall of defense. As the game and the crowd began to grow more intense a spark of sadness struck the home section as Desert Christian scored to make the score 1-0 in the 26th minute.

“After the first goal I was even more pumped and I knew we had to get back into it,” goalie Lorena Ruiz said.

The second half began 20 minutes after the first goal, and this time, the Lady Vikes started with the ball. As soon as the first official blew his whistle, the home side immediately started to play with great intensity. The Viking’s coach now switched formation placing midfielder Daisy Cabrera on the right of the pitch. In the 25th minute, an intelligible foul was called by the referee in the penalty box, giving the Lady Vikes a chance to tie the game. Luck struck in that same minute as striker Brandi Neilan scored the equalizer making the game deadlock. As the clock wound to the ending seconds, the final whistle blew sending the game into overtime. In soccer there are two options for overtime: the conventional extra 30 minutes or the more appealing Golden Goal option, which basically means whatever team scores first wins.

“Going into overtime I was pumped,” Ruiz said.

At overtime, the Knights started off with the ball. Tension was high in the stands; both visiting and home sides were on needles end as the ladies played. Sparring was going on from both sides, and even though both teams were tired, the aggression did not let up. After the 30 minutes, Golden Goal was over and then it went to penalties. Nerves were at a peak as both squads took the field once again. For Downey up first was striker Makayla Taylor, and it was a miss. In the next transitions, the visiting Knights scored all of their penalties. Then the last player up was Downey’s Jasmine Medrano. An attempt at scoring a penalty was unsuccessful, leaving Downey with a loss.

“Missing the penalty shot was definitely tough for me,” midfielder Jasmine Medrano said. “I’m used to taking and scoring a lot of penalties, but that one was very nerve-racking.”

Though this was one of the biggest losses for the ladies, their hard work leading up to the game will not go unrecognized. This is the farthest the Ladies have come for some time.

“I have club now,” Cabrera said. “After this season I plan on playing in college.”

Even though this is the end of the season for the team, it is definitely not the end for Ladies’ Viking soccer especially the seniors as many of them are looking to continue playing soccer.