Francis Parker's Sasha Stephens (left, shown in a game earlier this season) finished the year with a school season-record 44 goals.
DOWNEY Francis Parker junior Sasha Stephens had never experienced a goal like it.
In terms of style, her crossing shot appeared to ricochet sharply off the far post, but after a delayed ruling, it was determined it hit an inside tire by the post and thus counted.
In terms of significance, it lifted the Lancers to their first Southern California Regional girls soccer championship.
Stephens’ second goal of the game with 21 minutes to go accounted for a 3-2 victory over Santa Monica Marymount in the Division III final at Warren High on Friday night.
“I knew it went in, and I was excited (by the ruling),” said Stephens, who responded after an earlier two-goal edge evaporated. “I knew we had the win with that shot. You have to have confidence.”
Oh, yes, Stephens also established a school record with 44 goals on the season, breaking a tie with the old mark entering the game.
“I feel great about that,” said Stephens, who has 95 goals in three years, five shy of the school career mark with a season left to play. “I couldn’t have done it without the team.”
Natalie Schmidt also scored and Elisa Martinez had two assists to help power the Lancers (26-1-2), who made their third regional final appearance, all under coach Marc Thiebach.
“It’s incredible,” said Martinez, a fourth-year varsity member, who set a school record with 32 assists on the season. “Definitely, we left it all on the field.”
Lancers goalkeeper Soren Hansen stopped a penalty kick with four minutes to go in the first half to preserve a 2-1 halftime lead. But No. 4 Marymount (15-6-3) pulled even two minutes into the second half.
Schmidt opened the scoring in the seventh minute with her third goal of the season off an assist from Erin Shives. Stephens extended the lead to 2-0 seven minutes later.