Girls soccer beats Panthers in CIF playoff game

Defender Courtney Dolan, left, goes after the ball in CIF playoff game against Horizon Christian Academy. Photo courtesy of Barb Italiano
Defender Courtney Dolan, left, goes after the ball in CIF playoff game against Horizon Christian Academy. Photo courtesy of Barb Italiano

By Joe Naiman

For the first time since 2003, Ramona High School’s girls soccer team won a CIF playoff match.

The first-round win gave Ramona a quarterfinal match at first-seeded Escondido Charter, although flooding on the White Tigers’ field postponed the game from Feb. 28 to March 3, The game starts at 5 p.m.

The Division III first-round playoff game Feb. 26 at Horizon was scoreless in regulation and in field overtime. The game was also tied after the first five rounds of the penalty kick shootout. Ramona prevailed in the shootout’s seventh round.

“It’s awesome. It’s very exciting,” said assistant coach Deena Vizcarra.

Ramona junior Taylor Stacy was the Bulldogs’ goalkeeper and made 14 saves against the Panthers.

“She did a spectacular job as keeper that game,” Vizcarra said. “That was probably her best game this season.”

Ramona’s defenders who assisted Stacy were Courtney Dolan, Ceci Estrada, Katherine Lorentz, Sydney Marin, and Sydney Schmidt.

“Our defense including Taylor had an incredible game. They shut down Horizon’s lead scorer,” said Vizcarra.

The two 40-minute regulation halves were followed by a pair of 15-minute field overtimes. Since the game was still tied after those two overtimes, the penalty kick shootout took effect. The shootout begins with players alternating for five rounds (this can be as few as three rounds should one team mathematically clinch the shootout prior to the fifth round). The Bulldogs and Panthers each made three of their first five shots.  If the shootout is tied after the initial five rounds, different players must take the shots for the ensuing rounds. The shootout then ends when one team is successful while one team does not make its shot.  Neither team converted its sixth-round shot.  The Panthers failed to score in the first part of the seventh round, and when Karli Njaa placed her kick into the net, the game was decided in Ramona’s favor.

“It was really, really super exciting,” Vizcarra said.

Ramona entered the CIF playoffs as the ninth seed.  Horizon was the eighth seed.

“It was pretty even,” Vizcarra said of the game.

The number of fouls called against the two teams was not so even.  The Panthers were only called for one foul while Ramona’s fouls numbered in the double digits.

“Despite the number of fouls that were called on Ramona High School, we still played through it and won the game,” Vizcarra said.

Ramona’s playoff win 11 years ago was also an overtime match when the Bulldogs defeated Scripps Ranch. Ramona’s boys soccer team last won a playoff game in 2010.

“We’re hopefully making some history,” said Vizcarra.

The Division III championship match is scheduled for Saturday at Mesa College and has an 11 a.m. start time.

   
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