Westview’s Laura Buck scores the winning goal against Eastlake keeper JoJo McCaskill, earning the Wolverines a spot in the regional final.
CHULA VISTA Westview found a way.
Despite trailing for 73 minutes, the Wolverines equalized and eventually defeated Eastlake 2-1 in overtime at Stan Canaris Stadium on Thursday, booking their first trip to the Southern California Regional Division I girls soccer final.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” said Wolverines coach Peter Stogsdill.
“This wasn’t one of our goals in the beginning of the season, but it’s incredible what these girls have achieved. It says that we’re making a name for ourselves in Southern California.”
Laura Buck sealed the victory five minutes into extra time. The sophomore midfielder netted her second goal of the season past the outstretched hands of Eastlake keeper JoJo McCaskill.
“Hailey (Harbison) dribbled up the field, slotted a through ball to me and I struck it past the goalkeeper,” Buck said. “I had to score for us.”
Seventh-seeded Westview (21-6-2) will face No. 5 Woodland Hills El Camino Real (20-4-3) for the championship at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Warren High in Downey.
Angel Meriwether scored the tying goal for the Wolverines with seven minutes remaining, and Harbison finished with two assists.
“We kept fighting,” Harbison said. “I knew we could pull it off.”
Gabriella Sainz opened the scoring for Eastlake (16-3-6). The junior forward fielded a through-ball lob and guided it to the far right post at the 45-minute mark.
It appeared the Titans’ second-half goal would be enough in this battle of San Diego Section champions, but Westview refused to surrender.
“I can’t even begin to describe how resilient this team is,” Stogsdill said.
“We’re playing without a national team player (Marley Canales) who is at camps right now, a key starter (Pressley Wiggins) who broke her collarbone, yet these kids just continue to find ways to win matches. It’s an amazing feat for us to come back today in the end and get the victory.”
Eastlake attempted just six shots while Westview fired off 12.
“It’s been an amazing ride. Hats off to Westview,” said Eastlake coach Scott Burress. “I told (the players) hard work pays off and to be able to show them is probably one of the most rewarding feelings as a coach.”
•?Three other San Diego Section teams were eliminated Thursday — San Clemente defeated the La Costa Canyon boys 2-0, Inglewood Animo Leadership defeated the Pacific Ridge boys 5-2 and Westlake Village Oaks Christian defeated the Bishop’s girls 1-0.
•?Cathedral Catholic plays West Hills Chaminade for the Division II girls title at 5 p.m. today at Warren High.