LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — For more than 65 minutes of game time, St. Francis High's soccer team was holding a winning ticket for a trip to the CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinals.
But then a familiar storyline reared its ugly head, as the Golden Knights saw a late lead, along with their ticket to the next round, slip away on a late regulation goal before an overtime tally by visiting Ventura that was as controversial as it was heartbreaking brought St. Francis' season to a halt with a 2-1 sudden-death loss on Friday afternoon at Friedman Field.
"We had a chance to put it away and it just escaped," said St. Francis Coach Glen Appels.
In the 86th minute, Ventura's Kevin De Los Santos flicked in the game-winner off a deep throw-in. The shot passed over St. Francis junior goalie Luca Coppola, but didn't get past junior defender Luke Hatanaka, who deftly kicked the airborne attempt away. Though it appeared briefly that the side official ruled the entire ball did not go past the goalline, a brief officials' conference followed before a large celebration by Ventura as it was signaled a goal by the officials.