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More playoff magic for St. Francis soccer

Golden Knights rally from three-goal deficit to eventually win in penalty kicks.

February 13, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

LA CAÑADA — Through past postseasons, the St. Francis High boys' soccer team has seemingly proved there is no comeback too huge to overcome and no amount of magic too confounding to believe.

But upon Wednesday afternoon’s CIF Southern Section Division I wild-card match, a three-goal halftime deficit certainly looked like the end of any St. Francis dramatics. It proved to be just the beginning.

The Golden Knights rattled off four straight second-half goals only to allow visiting Canyon Springs to score the equalizer with minutes to play, forcing the game into overtime and eventually penalty kicks, in which St. Francis prevailed, advancing into Friday’s first round with a 5-5 (4-3) triumph at Friedman Field.

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“Even down, 4-1, I never thought for a single second we wouldn’t win this game,” said senior Brookes Treidler, who scored the game-winning penalty kick and scored in the second half’s first minute to key the comeback. “This is a team that typically has one good half. Luckily we scored four goals in that half.”

Treidler scored the game-winner last season when the Golden Knights prevailed against Upland, 4-3, after coming back from a two-goal deficit in the first round of CIF postseason play.

St. Francis Coach Glen Appels, who has coached the program to three CIF Southern Section titles and a Southern California Regional Championship, has navigated the Golden Knights through more nailbiting victories and defeats than he could likely number, with Wednesday’s simply the latest.

“The glimmer of hope was that we created enough chances in the first half to know we had a chance,” said Appels, whose Knights (8-10-5) will now play fourth-seeded Palos Verdes (19-2-3) on the road Friday in the first round. “We have some history [with dramatic playoff games].

“We showed a lot of heart today. Things weren’t going our way and we were still able to come back.”

Canyon Springs (8-8-6) took a 2-0 lead inside the first 20 minutes before a goal by Ricky Francia, who had two, off a Grant Gonzalez assist to cut the lead in half in the 30th minute. But Canyon Springs struck for two more goals in the half’s last five minutes, including a penalty kick just before half.

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