Squad's season ends for fourth straight year in penalty kicks

It was San Clemente in 2012. Then it was Chaminade and Santa Margarita in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Last night it was Santa Ana Mater Dei. These four schools have one thing in common: their girls’ soccer teams ended the Wolverines’ seasons as well as their chances at very possible CIF Southern Section Championships four years in a row, all on penalty kicks.

The 15-2-1 Wolverines made it onto the scoreboard immediately with a goal in the first minute from Karla Alas ’16, who has been a scoring threat all season, but the 11-4-7 Monarchs responded quickly with a goal in the 11th minute kicked by #14.

After the exciting first few minutes, both teams settled in and began to play the classic hard defense they displayed throughout the year.

Courtney Corrin ’16 made multiple stops in the first half, including one on a threatening long Monarch punt in the 34th minute.

Conversely, the Mater Dei defenders blocked a potentially game-changing midfield free kick from team veteran and UCLA commit Chloe Castaneda ’15 during stoppage time at the end of the first half.

Castaneda notably missed much of the season due to injury. Other injuries included Ohio State commit Brianna Gazmarian ’15, who lost her entire senior season to a torn ACL, the recently concussed Quinn Frankel ’16 and Amanda Gores ’16, who had a hurt ankle.

Going into last night’s game, Maxpreps.com ranked the Wolverines #17 and ranked the Monarchs #96 in the nation.

The classically rivaled Monarchs and Wolverines remained evenly matched until the 53rd minute, when Paige Howard ’17 kicked true from 10 yards out off of a pass from Castaneda.

Four minutes later, in a series of events that have occurred multiple times this season, Corrin went down with cramps. However, she walked off the field after a few minutes to be replaced by Montana Reilly ’16. Corrin came back into the game with 20 minutes to go in the second half.

Goalie Lindsay Avant ’17 was a major defensive presence this season, letting in only seven goals in this season’s 18 matches excluding last night, while the Wolverines scored 59 goals in those same 18 games, including a 7-0 trouncing of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in their final league game and a 3-0 shutout victory over Valencia to finish off the regular season.

However, after blocking one final shot off a corner kick with 16 minutes to go, #5 for the Monarchs evened the score on a header with four minutes of regulation time left. The Mater Dei goalie made some skillful blocks of her own, including two on a header and a penalty kick both by team veteran Courtney O’Brien ’15, who is committed to play at Princeton.

Subsequently, with one minute to go, a 40-yard Mater Dei free kick followed by another Monarch header led to a goal to put the Monarchs over the edge. All was not lost, though, as O’Brien responded in turn with a header of her own off of a Castaneda cross with only seconds left in regulation time.

Both teams played hard and pulled out all the stops in an effort to come out on top, and no goals were scored during both overtime periods, meaning that the game went into the dreaded penalty kick shootout round.

Both goalies made multiple saves during overtime, and, with only minutes to go in the second overtime period, when it seemed that the Wolverines had a breakaway ball with no Mater Dei defense in sight before the goal, #21 for the Monarchs went down and stayed down with a questionable injury that she shook off the second that the referees’ whistles blew.

Regardless, #28 for the Monarchs connected to give the Monarchs an early advantage in penalty kicks, and they maintained that lead as the Monarch goalie guessed correctly and blocked O’Brien’s shot in the bottom left corner.

The Monarchs extended their lead with a second goal by #5, but Alas kicked true for the second time last night, bringing the penalty kick score back to 2-1 Mater Dei. #21 for Mater Dei and Tiffany Guerra ’15 both connected, making the score 3-2 going into the fateful fourth round of penalty kicks.

#12 for the Monarchs scored on Avant, meaning that the fourth Wolverine shooter, Talia Wazana ’15 had to score or Mater Dei would win and the Woverines would lose and their season would be ended for the fourth year in a row on penalty kicks. The Mater Dei goalie guessed correctly when it counted most, and Wazana was stopped, ending the game and the Harvard-Westlake season.

The Wolverines’ final record was 15-3-1.

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