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Ending not so great for Great Oak

02/27/2013, 1:08pm PST
By Mark E. Stroder

Great Oak High's girls soccer team falls in the semifinals for the second consecutive year.

— The ball was rolling in her direction, so Great Oak High senior goalkeeper Sarah Victor did what she’s done hundreds of times.

She scooped it up.

“My teammate played it back to me, but it slipped my mind that it was her who played it back,” Victor said. “I just saw a ball coming toward me, and one of their players running at me, and I just did what I do.”

What she did was commit an infraction by using her hands to touch a ball intentionally kicked toward her by a teammate. It resulted in an indirect free kick near the penalty box for visiting Long Beach Wilson — and a match-tying goal with 18 minutes remaining.

Buoyed by the unexpected gift, the Bruins outscored the Wolfpack in overtime penalty kicks to rally for a come-from-behind 3-3 (5-3 PK) victory Tuesday night in the CIF Southern Section Division II girls’ soccer semifinals.

The Wolfpack (18-3-3), who reached the semifinals for the second straight season after previously never getting beyond the first round, were not interested in passing any blame.

“We win as a team, and we lose as a team,” said Great Oak coach Alicia Brennan. “They capitalized when they needed to capitalize. That’s the game of soccer. That’s why there’s 80 minutes.”

Defender Niki Voulgaris calmly booted the game-winning penalty kick for Wilson (20-4-3). Victor dove one way, and Voulgaris gently nudged the ball the other way.

“I always look to the right side, and I know that goalies look for where the eyes go,” said Voulgaris. “I always go to the left side. Mine are never hard. They just go to the exact same spot every time.”

Said Victor: “I don’t look at the eyes. Other players know that the eyes can give it away, and they try to trick, so I don’t pay any attention.

“I just have to guess. There were two that I got a hand on, but they were powerful shots.”

Senior striker Chloe Amaradio, who scored two first-half goals to stake the Wolfpack to a 2-0 lead, had her penalty kick blocked in the left corner by Wilson goalie Samantha Moreno.

“She made a good save,” said Amaradio. “I hit it exactly where I wanted. She guessed perfectly. That’s all I have to say.”

The save allowed the Bruins to close out the match. Wilson easily made all five of its overtime penalty kicks.

Samantha Reinhard’s game-tying indirect free kick managed to get past a wall of Great Oak defenders and through the center of the goal.

“I was concerned about the far post, but the ball was kicked middle to near,” Victor said. “It wasn’t where I was located. It was too close to react quick enough.”

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