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Girls Soccer

San Marcos Loses Heartbreaker in CIF Girls Soccer Quarterfinals

Melanie Miller of San Marcos heads a shot on goal during Thursday’s CIF girls soccer quarterfinal game against San Luis Obispo.
Melanie Miller of San Marcos heads a shot on goal during Thursday’s CIF girls soccer quarterfinal game against San Luis Obispo. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

The chances were there for San Marcos to advance to the CIF Division 3 soccer girls semifinals. But the Royals experienced a case of bad luck, and San Luis Obispo will be moving on to the final four after escaping with a 2-1 victory in two overtimes on Thursday at Warkentin Stadium.

Grace Park broke free on a 30-yard run and scored the golden goal with a minute left in the second overtime period to lift the second-seeded and unbeaten Tigers (25-0-1).

It was a heartbreaking defeat for the Royals, who controlled most of the possession and had clear chances to score a game-winning goal in regulation and in the first overtime.

“A great fight by our girls,” San Marcos coach Edwin Portillo began before expressing his heartbreak. “It’s frustrating, extremely frustrating that we just flat-out outplayed (San Luis Obispo). Credit to them for fighting the whole time.”

After a scoreless first half in which San Marcos created several scoring opportunities, San Luis Obispo  took a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute off a corner kick. The ball bounced around before Park poked it in.

“Olivia Ortiz flicked it and I was on the ground because I got pushed and I toe-poked it,” said Park.

San Marcos almost scored on a corner kick in the 68th minute but Tasha Wood’s header was saved.

The Royals finally broke through in the 71st minute on a beautiful give and go between Danielle Anderson and Olivia Jones.  Anderson, a central defender, came up on the left side, hit a diagonal ball to Jones at the top of the penalty area and made a center run. Jones, showing great awareness, knocked the ball back to Anderson, who hit a one-time shot inside the left post.

The Royals set up several great chances to take the lead in the last six minutes. One shot was hit right at the goalkeeper, there was a mis-hit from eight yards in front, and a blast off the cross bar from 22 yards.

In the first overtime, San Marcos set up a nice play off a Sierra Palladino free kick. Anderson flicked the ball to Tasha Wood whose toe poke was blocked by the goalie.

San Luis Obispo then found a way to win. With several players crowded near the left sideline Park slipped through the backline and was sent a through pass. She then took off with no one in front of her except the San Marcos goalkeeper.

“Our defensive mid couldn’t catch her. She was fast,” said Portillo of Park.

“It was just like a movie,” Park said of running alone. “I had to get everything blocked out.”

She scored with a shot to the far post.

“We don’t really have a game plan,” Park said of San Luis Obispo’s game. “We just risk it up there with three forwards — that’s how we scored both goals – and we let our (defensive) side be pretty vulnerable. That was pretty much our plan, and battle. They were more athletic than us but we put up a battle.”

Channel League-champion San Marcos finishes a terrific season at 14-3-3.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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