Dana Dalton's overtime goal on Thursday sent Cathedral to the Southern California Regional final on Saturday.
Tears of joy ran down the cheeks of Cathedral Catholic senior Dana Dalton with significance far beyond scoring an overtime goal in the Southern California Regional girls soccer semifinals.
Her thoughts, as she was swarmed by teammates, included her father and perhaps biggest fan, John, hospitalized with pneumonia.
“My dad had been to every single one of my high school games these last four years (until this week),” the younger Dalton said. “Not seeing him in the stands before the game made an emotional type of day.”
The top-seeded hosts kept alive their hopes for a regional four-peat when Dalton converted eight minutes into OT with an uncontested shot from the right side to provide a 1-0 victory over Newbury Park in Division II play on Thursday night.
Cathedral (24-4-3) advanced to the final at home on Saturday against No. 2 Palos Verdes.
“When we went into overtime, it could have been the last 15 minutes playing for Cathedral,” said Dalton, a fourth-year varsity member who marked her 101st victory playing for the school . “So I was just giving it my all.”
Goalkeepers Erin Kelly and Kelly McCarthy, who alternated by half, each made two saves against the No. 5 Panthers (15-6-5) to help send the game into overtime.
“Our girls willed their way through this,” Dons coach Dawn Lee said. “It’s just amazing.”
Senior standout Sunny Dunphy missed the game due to a 72-hour rule barring play after competing for US 18 women’s team in Spain on Monday. She can return on Saturday.
Also out was senior leader Olivia Erlbeck with a concussion.