With the game on the line in overtime, Lexi Zandonella made sure that her Carondelet team would live to play another day. The senior captain deposited a shot into the net with three minutes remaining in overtime on Tuesday, taking down top seed Clovis North in the CIF NorCal Division I quarterfinals, 3-2.
Carondelet trailed at the half, but took a 2-1 lead on Annaliese Giusto's goal with two minutes remaining in regulation. The top-seeded Broncos, however, moved the game into extra time when Antonia Piercey scored just before the final whistle.
That set the stage for the thrilling overtime period, which ended with Zandonella's game-winner, a goal which sends the Cougars into the semifinals, where they will face St. Francis-Sacramento, who beat Oak Ridge 4-2 in the quarterfinals. The Troubadours received goals from four different players to out-pace the Trojans, as seniors Marli Berry and Lindsey Piatanesi each found the back of the net, aided by goals from juniors Jackie Stanco and Mia Solorio-Smith.
The other half of the bracket will be an all-too-familiar rematch as Monte Vista hosts Archbishop Mitty in a battle of perennial NorCal powers. Mitty downed Berkeley with a goal from Emma Vane in the 65th minute, as she converted on a pass from Svea Neunfinger to beat the Yellowjackets' standout keeper, Leah Freeman.
Monte Vista beat Saint Francis by an identical 1-0 score, as senior Tatiana Berestka netted the game-winner. The Mustangs and Mitty played to a scoreless draw back in December, and this marks the third straight year they will meet in the NorCal playoffs. Last year, Monte Vista handled the Monarchs 3-0 on their way to the regional title. The year before, the two teams met in the title game, which resulted in a 1-0 victory for the two-time defending NorCal champion Mustangs.
Division II roundup
Two of the top four seeds were eliminated in the quarterfinals, with eight-seed Leigh ousting top-seed Tamalpais on penalty kicks, while six-seed Maria Carrillo cruised past three-seed Los Gatos, 4-1.
After a 1-1 draw in regulation and overtime, Leigh won the shootout 5-4 against Tamalpais, getting the game-winner from Mia Karine Mykelbust. Now the Longhorns will travel to Ponderosa-Shingle Springs, after the fourth-seeded Bruins improved to 21-2-1 with a 6-1 rout over Cardinal Newman. Ponderosa was the Sac-Joaquin Division II runner-up, falling to St. Francis-Sacramento in that title game.
After having no trouble with Los Gatos, Maria Carrillo now heads to two-seed Clovis, after the Cougars eliminated Folsom with a 4-0 victory. Clovis received goals from four different players, with senior Brooklin Woolf recording a goal and an assist.
Division III roundup
Only one game played out according to seeding in this bracket, as eight-seed Burlingame used a first-half goal to take down Mountain View, 1-0. Now the Panthers head to the East Bay, where they will face five-seed Acalanes, after the Dons blanked Manteca, 2-0.
Six-seed Christian Brothers also advanced with a 1-0 win over Santa Cruz, as freshman Brooklyn Horst netted the game-winner off an assist from junior Lexi Rakela. The Falcons will face two-seed Montgomery, which cruised past Bradshaw Christian, 5-0.
Division IV roundup
Six-seed Marin Academy was the lone program outside the top four seeds to advance to the quarterfinals, as the Wildcats took down University Prep, 2-0. Senior Lucinda Anderson and sophomore Calista Poulos continued their outstanding seasons with a goal apiece to pace MA. The pair have now combined for 30 goals this year.
Marin Academy will face two-seed El Camino-Sacramento, which received goals from junior Katie Norlie and sophomore Ashley Guerrero Orozco to beat Orosi, 2-0.
Branson and Kingsburg will meet in the top half of the bracket. Branson received goals from Caitlin Evers, Eliana Prosnitz and Noelle Namba to roll past Sacred Heart Prep, 3-0. Kingsburg blanked Ripon, 2-0, getting a brace from senior captain Marissa Montelongo.
Division V roundup
The top four seeds all advanced to the quarterfinals, led by top seed Lowell's 4-0 win over Winters. The Cardinals now welcome Chico to the Lake Merced area of San Francisco, after the Panthers destroyed Ben Holt, 8-0. Junior Alyssa Bloxham had a hat trick for Chico, while senior Riley Freeman added a pair of goals.
Oakland Tech and Pleasant Valley-Chico will square off in the other semifinal, after the two-seed Bulldogs crushed Fresno Christian, 7-0, while Pleasant Valley blanked section foe West Valley-Cottonwood, 3-0. Junior Kyler Garner had a goal and an assist for the Vikings in their win.