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SCCS falls short in semifinals

Posted: March 4, 2014 11:08 p.m.
Updated: March 4, 2014 11:08 p.m.

Santa Clarita Christian's Gracie Gwinn, right, heads the ball away from Gabrielino's M.C. Sei on Tuesday at College of the Canyons in the CIF-SS Div. II semifinals.

 

It was bound to be a night of firsts for the Santa Clarita Christian girls soccer team regardless of the outcome.

The Cardinals had already made history by reaching their first playoff semifinal in school history and were looking to make it to their first final.

However it was a different group of firsts that kept them from that destination.

SCCS allowed more than two goals for the first time this season to visiting Gabrielino of San Gabriel, losing 4-1 in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division VII playoffs on Tuesday at College of the Canyons.

The loss was their first of the season. It was also the first time the Cardinals had allowed four goals in a game.

“I was very proud of the girls and all the hard work they put in,” said SCCS head coach Matt Gale. “(After the game) I told them what I was most proud of is how they developed relationships and a true love for each other. That’s what helped carry us on to have such a good year. Every practice, every game, they played hard for each other.”

It looked as if the Cardinals offense would start rolling early when junior striker Lauren Gallagher, who led the team with 46 goals on the season, got an open look in the third minute.

But after her shot rolled into the arms of Eagles goalkeeper Karen Munoz, SCCS (19-1-4) had a tough time manufacturing another good opportunity.

Instead it was Gabrielino (16-5-1) who struck first when Izel Gutierrez buried a rebound into the bottom left corner of the goal.

The Eagles scored again in the 34th minute when Maite Reece broke down the middle of the defense and sent her shot into the top right corner.

Trailing 2-0 at the half for the first time all year, the Cardinals gained a little momentum when senior defender Desirae Dodson scored on a free kick in the 46th minute.

But two more goals from Gabrielino put the game, and the Cardinals’ first chance at a final, out of reach.

But even while dealing with the pain of their first loss, the Cardinals kept the focus on each other and all they had accomplished.

“Making the semifinals was so exciting,” Dodson said. “We made history and I couldn’t ask for more. I love this team.”

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