GILROY—With the Christopher High girls soccer team leading 1-0 in the opening minutes of the second half in Wednesday’s Central Coast Section Division III playoff match, Monte Vista Christian’s Jana Komposch got loose down the left seam and dribbled for a good 25 to 30 yards en route to the Christopher goal. But Cougars goalkeeper Jordan Anaya alertly came off her line to cut off the angle and made a tremendous save to deny the Mustangs the potential equalizer.
“It sounds silly to say, but that play might have changed the dynamic of the game,” Cougars coach Matt Oetinger said. “You’re up 1-nil and all of a sudden they have a 1v1 with your goalie.”
Top-seed Christopher (7-0-1) went on to score three goals after that to post a 4-0 win and advance to its second championship final in three years.
The Cougars on Friday will face San Benito, which won in penalty kicks over Gilroy High. The No. 5 seed Mustangs (7-5-1) were thoroughly outplayed, but still had a chance to tie things up on Komposch’s breakaway.
“Had we scored that one, the game could’ve been totally different,” Mustangs coach Morgan Miller said. “Their goalie made a great save, and Christopher has got a really talented roster with a lot of players who have been playing together for a long time. They’re by far the best team we’ve played all season for sure. We hung in there for a while, but it obviously didn’t go our way tonight.”
Christopher outshot MVC 33-2 and finished with a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks. Jenna Urrabazo and Kaiya Stewart scored two goals each. Both of Urrabazo’s goals came on assists from Aesha Sandoval, who helped Christopher dominate the time of possession.
“Aesha is just a presence in the middle and really good at cutting off players and shielding the ball,” Oetinger said.
Komposch and Shayna Lebovitz have led the Mustangs’ offensive attack all season, while Clarissa Alvarez and Maddie Pullen have also been solid and made a number of strong defensive plays against Christopher. Goalkeeper Alexa Malaspina is one of eight freshmen on the roster, and had she not played well, the score could’ve been even more one-sided.
“Alexa had a tremendous game, probably her best game of the year,” Miller said. “She’s made big saves for us all season.”
The Mustangs lose three key senior starters off this year’s team, but if the underclassmen develop, they could have a sustained run of success in the coming years.
“Losing Shayna, Clarissa and Sara (Thornburg) will be big losses for us, but I think we should still be really competitive,” Miller said.
Despite the loss, Miller was pleased with the team’s season.
“I’m extremely proud of the girls because I don’t think we ever had a game where we had more than one sub available,” she said. “It was a rough season from an injury standpoint and having enough healthy players, but the girls persevered to have a strong season.”
Lincoln 4, Watsonville 2 (2 OT): Victor Vega-Lopez scored a goal in the first half for the No. 8-seed Wildcatz in a loss against the Lions in the CCS D-I semifinal on Wednesday.
Vega-Lopez made it 1-0 after scoring in the 24th minute, giving Watsonville its first and only lead of the game.
Watsonville, who beat top-seed Woodside High on Saturday, nearly had the shutout victory, but No. 5 Lincoln tied the game at 1-all in the 75th minute.
The Lions kept pressing the Wildcatz and scored three more times in both 10-minute overtime periods.
Watsonville’s Luis Valladolid scored in the second overtime to cut the deficit to 3-2. But any chance of a comeback was squashed after Lincoln scored a couple of minutes later.
The Wildcatz finished the season with an 11-3-0 record.
[Additional reporting by Juan Reyes of The Pajaronian — Editor]