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Tologs take CIF title

March 04, 2011|By Grant Gordon

MISSION VIEJO — With just 10 seconds separating Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy’s soccer team from realizing its ultimate goal, junior goalie Lindsey Espe secured the ultimate of victories.

With little more than 11 minutes remaining, sophomore Krista Meaglia made it all possible.

Meaglia booted in a low shot in the 68th minute to propel Sacred Heart to a 1-0 victory over top-seeded San Clemente on Friday night to win the program’s first-ever CIF Southern Section Division I championship at Mission Viejo High.

“I don’t think words can describe it,” said Meaglia of her feeling after winning the championship on a goal that came to be after Jillian Jacobs played a high ball up from midfield to forward Katie Johnson, who then headed a ball over a double-team to Meaglia. “I just saw the opportunity, I just shot it.”

A season after falling in the Division II semifinals, the third-seeded Tologs (21-1-1), representing a school with just 400 students, ran a gauntlet of five teams from Orange Country, including defending champion and second-seeded Esperanza in the semifinals, before upending San Clemente (19-8-1), the second-ranked team in the nation, according to ESPN Rise.

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“Amazing,” Johnson said. “This is one of the best days ever.”

It was all the more amazing considering the Tritons controlled the first half, dictating play from start to finish before the Tologs rebounded in the final 40 minutes in what would play out as a back-and-forth half.

“They were coming off the field and they were saying we got this,” said Sacred Heart co-Coach Kathy Desmond of what changed at halftime. “They said they had it.”

Sacred Heart, which is ranked third in the country by ESPN Rise, found itself taking home the winner’s plaque more so for its defensive heroics than its offense, though.

“They had a strong defense and a great goalie that kept our attack and special pieces from finishing,” said San Clemente Coach Stacey Finnerty, whose team was playing in its fourth straight championship game. “We had a great couple chances that didn’t go our way.”

The backline of Natalie Zeenni, Alexa Montgomery, Katelyn Almeida and Tera Trujillo held strong in the face of arguably its toughest opponent to date.

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