Throughout the postseason, the Westview High girls soccer team has been on edge. While the Wolverines played well enough to win three games and secure the San Diego Section Division II title, one thing they never did was play with more than a one-goal lead.
They finally found some breathing room Tuesday, turning a stalwart defensive effort and a tactical, technical offensive scheme into a 2-0 victory over Aliso Niguel in the Southern California Regional Division I quarterfinals.
Midway through the second half, senior midfielder Danielle Gonzales gave Westview a cushion unlike her team had had in two previous 1-0 postseason wins and a victory in penalty kicks following a scoreless draw.
After Kylie Vasil’s 16th-minute header put Westview ahead, Gonzales took the ball away from a pair of Aliso Niguel defenders about 25 yards out, turned and lofted a ball over the keeper’s outstretched arms for a 57th-minute goal.
“Although they were putting a lot of pressure on, we still had that safety net,” Gonzales said. “I looked up and there was nobody to play it to, so I just decided to shoot it. I think I caught their keeper off her line.”
The seventh-seeded Wolverines (15-10-2) advanced to the semifinals Thursday at No. 3 Eastlake (16-2-6). Westview’s deepest regional run previously came in 2009 when the Wolverines were stopped in the semis with a loss in penalty kicks.
“We lost four starters to their club teams that year,” Westview coach Peter Stogsdill recalled. “So it’s a goal to get to the final. Last year, we had the best team around. This team isn’t as talented, but the kids have really come together and really battle for each other.”
Westview hasn’t allowed a goal in four postseason games. Stogsdill said defensive captain Meagan Harbison deserves as much of the credit as keeper Andrea Leano, who made a handful of spectacular saves Tuesday but was otherwise untested.
“Meagan’s a stud back there,” Stogsdill said. “She doesn’t let anything get behind us.”