HEMET -- Craig Dwinell may have stumbled across a new position in soccer: the designated penalty-kick keeper.
The Hemet girls soccer coach certainly made it look that way Thursday afternoon, and it paid huge dividends. Calling on sophomore Sarai Esquivel when the Bulldogs' clash with Santa Ana Segerstrom was deadlocked after two halves and two 10-minute overtimes, Esquivel stopped two PKs and lifted Hemet to a CIF Southern Section Division VI quarterfinal victory on PKs, 3-2, after a scoreless draw in regulation.
Second-seeded Hemet (24-2-1) advanced to a semifinal for the first time in eight years with the win. The Bulldogs on Tuesday will travel to San Dimas, a 2-0 winner over Tahquitz in another D-VI quarterfinal Thursday.
"They just kept going out there today," Dwinell said. "They didn't get their heads down, and they didn't get concerned."
But they did fail to score in regulation or overtime for the first time this season. In an evenly played match, Hemet starting keeper Alexx Pachon performed admirably, securing five saves, but she also had a banged-up left knee after 100 minutes of playing time. Enter Esquivel, who was the starter earlier this season and had twice won matches in PK situations.
"(Pachon) had been playing so well (lately) and we were on a roll," Dwinell said. "I didn't want to change anything."
She stopped Segerstrom's third and fourth penalty kicks –- when a match goes to PKs, each side gets five shots –- before Hemet's Destanie Johnson fired to the right of Segerstrom keeper Marisa Flasco for the winner. The Jaguars' other miss went wide of goal.
"I just guessed right, honestly," Esquivel said of her stops. "You could kind of see in their faces that they were kind of worried."
"Worried" wasn't the word Segerstrom coach Imelda Nava would have used.
"I hate PKs," she said. "I really do."
Neither team gained an advantage in regulation. Hemet, the Mountain Pass League champ, outshot Golden West League-champ Segerstrom, 8-5, on goal. The Jaguars did seem to wear down late, as their last shot on goal in regulation came early in the second half.
The Bulldogs got close several times. In the 66th minute, Jennifer Gordon headed a free kick from Savannah Loutzenhise in front of goal, but the Jaguars cleared.
Seconds later, Sarah Hopper broke loose and appeared to have a shot at a rebound goal, but Flasco recovered and collected the ball for one of her nine saves.
Then, in the second minute of the second overtime, Hopper's header caught just enough of the left post to bounce back out onto the pitch.
Segerstrom, though, held on to force PKs.
"They were playing 300 percent out there," Nava said. "I think we were a little bit nervous more than anything (late in the match)."
The Bulldogs, though, survived the physical match – four yellow cards were dealt – to advance.
"I'm extremely proud," Dwinnell said. "That's the one thing I expect from them is for them to work hard. Things may not always go your way, but you can control how hard you work."