Girls soccer edges Long Beach Poly on 4-3 penalty kicks; advances to CIF final
Lady Lancers freshman Brianna Figueroa (from left), junior Taylor DeGuzman, sophomore Acira Mehta and juniors Jocelyn Pineda and Auburn Burnett run across the field in celebration of their team's victory against Long Beach Poly during the CIF Southern Section, Division 2, semifinal Feb. 16, at Long Beach Wilson High School. (Photo by Accolade photographer Kimberly Morales)

In what girls soccer head coach Jeff Gordon called a “dream come true,” the Lady Lancers defeated the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits Feb. 16 after regulation on penalty kicks, advancing to the final round of the California Interscholastic Federation, Southern Section Division 2, championships.

“I’m so proud of them,” Gordon said after the game, which started at 3 p.m. and was held at a neutral site at Long Beach Wilson High School. “This was one of the most intense games I’ve ever coached in.”

Video by Accolade photographer Kimberly Morales

The coach said CIF officials will inform him on Tuesday whether the CIF title game against Mira Costa High School will be on Friday or Saturday and where.

Last year, the Lady Lancers fell short in its quest for a CIF division title, losing in the semifinal round to San Luis Obispo High School. But they were able to avenge their loss to San Luis Obispo and eventually advance for the first time in school history to the state CIF final game, losing to Temecula Valley March 10, 2018, in a rain-drenched affair.

This time, rain wasn’t an issue for the team, though players had to play through a windy afternoon. Neither squad scored in regulation, as the Lady Lancers (21-1-4) and Jackrabbits had to settle for penalty kicks to determine who would advance to the championship round.

The winning goal came from the Lancers’ junior midfielder Trinity Blaho, whose kick into the left corner under windy conditions sailed past Jackrabbits’  goal keeper Kirra Ybarra. The kick broke a 3-3 tie and sent her teammates onto the field to celebrate with Blaho.

“We just had to play incredible defense, play with heart, be tough, be physical and make the last kick in the game,” Gordon said after the game.

For more game coverage and players’ statements, be sure to pick up a print issue of The Accolade during Period 4 Friday.

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