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More CIF magic for St. Francis

Soccer: Treidler's late goal completes dramatic comeback for 4-3 first-round playoff victory.

February 16, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

UPLAND — No matter the final standing at the conclusion of Mission League play and no matter the CIF Southern Section Division I opponent, in recent seasons, St. Francis High's boys' soccer team has made a habit of playoff histrionics and postseason magic.

It's a trend that's apparently maintained, as a chilly evening in Upland was further evidence to the roller-coaster ride that is the Golden Knights in the playoffs.

Seemingly on the wrong end of second-half comebacks all season long, St. Francis rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit with four second-half goals, including the game-winner by junior midfielder Brookes Treidler with just over five minutes remaining, as the Golden Knights upset Upland, 4-3, in the first round.

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"We can't make it easy," joked St. Francis Coach Glen Appels, whose Golden Knights (8-8-8) will host Ventura, a 4-2 winner over Agoura, on Tuesday in the second round. "Down, 2-0, on the road, a weaker-willed team would've been done, but we kept fighting. We didn't quit."

St. Francis fell behind, 2-0, with first-half goals by Bryan Morrison and Andrew Lee less than four minutes apart for Upland (15-7-2) — the Baseline League champion — but it was a stunning span in which the Golden Knights scored three goals in six minutes in the second half that turned the game.

"The momentum follows you after the goals," said St. Francis senior forward Billy McCreary, who had a pair of goals during the comeback. "That's definitely what happened."

After St. Francis went up, 3-2, a stunned Highlanders squad was able to rebound with a Mohammad Khattab goal with 17 minutes remaining, but it only set the stage for Treidler.

A throw-in by Derek Bell into the mouth of the goal was scooted around before an Upland defender inadvertently kicked it left to an unmarked Treidler on the far side, who booted in the winning goal.

"I was all alone inside the six and I knew I wouldn't miss from there," Treidler said.

Last season, St. Francis took second in the Mission League and made a run to the quarterfinals behind a one-goal first-round victory and a subsequent upset of fourth-seeded Ventura. In the 2009-10 season, the Golden Knights were the fourth-place team out of league and upended the third seed before falling in the second round in overtime. And there was the magical 2009 run in which the fourth-place Golden Knights advanced to the semifinals and later won the program's only CIF Southern California Division II Regional Championship.

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