AMANDA GERSOFF Staff Writer
Girls soccer finished with a strong result in the CIF playoffs this season. On Thursday, February 18, the Royals played in their first CIF game of this season. Warkentin Stadium was filled as the girls defeated Diamond Ranch 2-0 in the playoff opener. Seven minutes into the second half of the game, Danielle Anderson converted a penalty kick after a Diamond Ranch defender was called for a hand ball inside of the box. In the 69th minute of the game, the Royals were awarded a free kick from the 25 yard line. Sierra Palladino stepped up to take the kick and drove the ball into the net sending them up by two goals.
A large part of their success and many of their shutouts were due to a strong defensive back line which included Natalie Widmer, Sierra Palladino, Tasha Wood and Danielle Anderson. In addition, sophomore goalkeeper, Addie Furrer, made numerous saves and allowed them to have many shutouts. Playing defensive midfield, juniors Raynee Odell and Melanie Miller strongly supported the backline.
“Our defense, they’re definitely keeping us alive and they will continue to do so,” said first year head coach Edwin Portillo, “I can’t say enough about my back four and Addie.”
The Royals advanced to the second round of the playoffs, travelling all the way to La Cañada to play Flintridge Prep on Tuesday, February 23. Junior Lucia Lynn stepped up big in the game scoring two goals out of their three. Early into the game, Lucia finished a cross from Danielle giving the Royals a 1-0 lead. Later, in the 20th minute, Flintridge tied the game at 1-1. Once again however, Lucia took control and dribbled around the opposing goalkeeper from a through ball by Olivia Jones. Near the end of regulation time, Flintridge tied the score again. With less than ten minutes left in regulation time, the Royals received a free kick. Sierra Palladino took the shot and scored, ending the game with a 3-2 win. This win sent them to the quarterfinals, which is the furthest they have gone in CIF since winning the championships in 2013.
In the quarterfinals on Thursday, February 25, the Royals faced San Luis Obispo, who had only lost once this season. In the 61st minute, the Tigers scored off a corner kick leaving SM trailing for the first time in the playoffs. Ten minutes later however, Danielle Anderson sent a through ball to Chloe Hamer who centered it, setting Danielle up to score. Although the majority of the time the Royals were in control of the ball, none of their shots met the back of the net. The game went into overtime and later double overtime after the score remained tied after the regulation 90 minutes. In a lucky and unfortunate breakaway, the Tigers were able to score a goal in the last minute of double overtime and the game ended with a score of 2-1. Even though the outcome of their final game was heartbreaking, the effort and the incredible teamwork demonstrated by the Royals throughout the season and in the playoffs was certainly there.
Reflecting back upon their strong season, the Royals camaraderie and competitiveness was a major contribution to their success.
“The best part about being on this team was probably the pre game bump seshes and our competitiveness that drove us to the quarterfinals of CIF,” said junior Lucia Lynn, “I’m so proud of this team.”
After such a strong result this season, the Royals are looking to make it to playoffs next season and hopefully win the championships.