By SARAH KOENIG, VALLEY CHRISTIAN
March 3, 2013
The Los Altos girls soccer team followed a familiar formula in Saturday's Division II championship match at Valley Christian, taking advantage of every opportunity to post a thrilling 1-0 victory over St. Francis.
For the second match in a row, the Eagles (14-5-3) took down a formidable West Catholic Athletic League foe despite the fact that the Lancers (18-4-1) created more opportunities. Wednesday night in the semifinals, Los Altos executed that same formula in a 1-0 victory over top-seeded and nationally ranked Archbishop Mitty.
“That’s kind of been the recipe for us all season," Los Altos coach Armando Luna said. "We’re very organized in the back, there’s hard work in the midfield and we take advantage of the opportunities we get up top.”
Another major part of that recipe is sophomore Allie Crum, who once again scored the key goal to help Los Altos pull off the major upset. Crum took a quick free kick about 20 yards out from the goal and scored as the Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.
The Lancers looked to be a little shaken up after the goal, and weren’t able to find a rhythm until later in the half. Los Altos kept the pressure on the midfield and the Eagle defense remained organized and stout.
“I think we came out a little bit slow in the first half, it was hard for us to get into a rhythm and then when they scored a goal off of us on that free kick it made it even harder," St. Francis coach Dawn Hill said. "We battled in the second half and they played organized defense and put pressure on the ball. We had a couple good chances; we just couldn’t find the back of the net to tie it up and keep it going.”
The Lancers came out with intensity in the second half and remained relentless the entire 40 minutes. They put high pressure on ball offensively and possessed the ball for the majority of the half. Junior midfielders Annie Kingman and Megan Keeth controlled the center for the Lancers and tried to play the through balls, but their teammates were unable to find a foot on the end of it, especially with the tenacious Los Altos defense empowering the back line and phenomenal goalkeeping skills from freshman Carrie Wendelken.
Wendelken made crucial saves on set pieces, one of the Lancers' strengths during the season. She controlled her back line with confidence and encouragement that lead her team to victory.
“I really want to thank my defense because they were so strong and solid and never stopped working," Wendelken said.
Both teams might be expected to make another run at the title next season as Los Altos graduates just one senior and St. Francis is a perennial power that returns several key players, including Kingman, who has verbally committed to the University of North Carolina.