Del Norte senior Doriana Moul scored the only goal of the game in the Nighthawks' win over Scripps Ranch.
After more than 75 minutes of rugged, scoreless soccer, Doriana Moul had seen enough.
Moul, a senior forward for Del Norte High, scored the only goal of the game with just under five minutes remaining in regulation time, lifting the Nighthawks to their first championship with a 1-0 victory over Scripps Ranch in the San Diego Section Division I girls final Saturday night at Mesa College.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, and those last few minutes were especially tough,” said Moul, who is bound for Florida State University next season. “We just had to persevere.”
The Del Norte defensive line and goalkeeper Sammy Burke also played a big role for the Nighthawks, who came into the playoffs as a No. 1 seed.
“This is a very special group,” said Burke. “All four of my defenders are my saviors.”
The Nighthawks had appeared in one other section final, losing to Cathedral Catholic in the 2012 Division III championship match. Now head coach Gary Rossi, who has coached the team since the school opened in 2010, has a championship trophy as well.
“Once we started getting our club players after the start of the season, we really began gelling,” said Rossi, whose team was winless after four games with an 0-2-2 record but won 13 of their last 14 matches to finished with a 16-6-2 record. “Dani Baldwin directs our back line, which played with such tenacity and perseverance tonight.”
Baldwin, who is bound for Cal State Fullerton, and Taylor Hansen made key defensive plays through the game for the two-time defending Avocado East League champions, who were also a top seed last year but lost to Rancho Buena Vista in the quarterfinals. The Nighthawks reached the finals this year following a 1-0 semifinal victory over district rival Poway.
“A lot of our players have grown up together playing soccer,” added senior Karli Renken, who just missed on several earlier scoring opportunities. “This is like a dream come true.”
No. 2 seed Scripps Ranch, a 2-1 semifinal winner over Point Loma, finished its season at 13-7-6 after winning the Eastern League for the fifth straight year. The Falcons were also a Division I finalist in 2014, losing to Cathedral Catholic.
“We need to play with pace and passion,” said Falcons coach Larry Pernicano prior to the game. His team was looking for its first section crown since winning the Division II title in 1999.
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