El Camino Real wouldn’t budge.
Packing the field with 10 defenders, the Conquistadors sat and barricaded their goal, impeding Westview’s attack.
“It was difficult to create opportunities to score or even counterattack with all those players behind the ball,” said Wolverines coach Peter Stogsdill. “They tried to prevent us from scoring and it worked.”
Regulation ended scoreless. Overtime produced identical results. Thus, the Southern California Regional Division I girls soccer final came down to penalty kicks and ultimately a victory for Woodland Hills El Camino Real on Saturday at Warren High in Downey.
Seven rounds. Fourteen kickers. Thirteen successful attempts. Sophomore keeper Alex Best snatched the final attempt, crowning the fifth-seeded Conquistadors (20-4-3) champions.
“You can practice penalty kicks over and over and over, but it makes no difference when the game is on the line and the pressure builds up,” said Stogsdill, whose team was making its first appearance in the final.
El Camino Real’s preventive game plan initially stymied No. 7 Westview (21-7-2) but couldn’t keep the Wolverines from poaching inside their opponent’s territory a few times.
“We controlled possession of the game,” Stogsdill said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a goal. Sometimes, in soccer, the better team doesn’t win.”