Sacred Heart suddenly in final

Tologs win 1-0 overtime thriller over host Esperanza to advance to first Section final in program history.

March 01, 2011|By Grant Gordon,
  • A victory pile ensues after the Flintridge Sacred Heart soccer team beat Esperanza in overtime.
A victory pile ensues after the Flintridge Sacred Heart… (Tim Berger, Los…)

ANAHEIM — Off the bench and into the annals of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy history.

Tologs senior forward Alyssa Conti did not begin overtime of Tuesday afternoon's CIF Southern Section Division I semifinal on the field, but she ended it there.

Propelled by the fortuitous right foot of Conti in the 83rd minute of an overtime nailbiter at Esperanza High, third-seeded Sacred Heart defeated No. 2 Esperanza, 1-0, to advance to the program's first-ever CIF Southern Section championship final.

"I am so excited right now I can't even put it into words," said Conti, who took a ball on the right wing from junior forward Breeana Koemans and went high with her shot for arguably the biggest goal in Sacred Heart soccer chronicle. "It was a great team effort, though, we all worked really hard on the field and it comes out with a good goal in the end, I guess.


"I was making sure this was not my last game for this team. I'm not ready to leave."

Conti, who started the game and had previously had the Tologs' best scoring chance in regulation, was on the bench when overtime began, but was quickly subbed in for Lauren Torres.

"She's one of the best finishers on the team," Koemans said. "I knew she was gonna make it."

And with her score, the Tologs (19-1-2) rushed the field and ushered their way into the Division I finals — the first girls' soccer team in area history to do so — as they will play No. 1 seed San Clemente either Friday or Saturday at a site to be determined. San Clemente defeated Santa Margarita, 2-2 (4-2).

"These kids are special. They came to play and they felt like they had something to prove today," Tologs co-Coach Frank Pace said. "Every kid who ever played for Sacred Heart would've liked to have been on the field today. It meant a lot to a lot of people."

It was the fourth straight game decided by a 1-0 score for Esperanza, the defending Southern Section and CIF Southern California Regional Championships Division I champion. Of course, this time around, the role was reversed for the Aztecs (22-3-5), who offered a swarming defense and a standout goalkeeper in Alyssa Giannetti, who made seven saves.

"I've always said great teams win 1-0 games," said Pace, who had previously offered up those words leading into the game about Esperanza. "A great team won a 1-0 game today."

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