A week removed from having been denied a CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship, the Flintridge Sacred Heart varsity girls’ soccer team was determined to not let history repeat itself in the state playoffs at St. Francis High School’s Friedman Field on Saturday.
“They had a chip on their shoulders and they wanted some redemption,” said FSHA assistant coach Savannah Viola, who guided the team through most of the postseason when head coach Mark Snashall was on a business trip. “They played incredible and it just worked out. You don’t want to lose twice.”
The Tologs avoided another runner-up finish with stingy defense and a stellar performance from senior Jillian Willis, who led her squad to a 3-0 victory over visiting Culver City in the CIF State Division 3 Southern Regional championship.
Willis recorded two assists and scored a goal to help Flintridge Sacred Heart win its first Southern Regional crown since 2010. The Tologs’ last plaque was in 2011 when they claimed the CIF-SS Division 1 title.
“After last week, we knew we wanted to come out as hard as possible,” Willis said. “We dedicated this whole week to winning this, and it paid off. It’s a clean win. It’s so surreal.”
Maddie Leroy put FSHA on the board in the eighth minute on an assist from Willis. Willis buried a penalty kick early in the second half to give the home team a two-goal advantage.
The Tologs’ final score came off a free kick in the 72nd minute when Willis fired the ball toward goal and Helena Locateli headed it toward goal.
“It’s amazing to win like this,” Willis said. “It’s nothing I would have ever imagined. This season has been so great with these girls.”
Leroy, Willis and Locateli stand out on the scoresheet, but Viola credited the team’s defense for the victory.
“Shutting them down was the game plan,” she said. “They had just beaten Oak Hills [of Hesperia] and they were on our throats the entire game [in the CIF-SS title match]. The defense did an incredible job of shifting and stopping a good Culver City team.”
Viola was part of the FSHA’s last championship team but found the experience of winning a title more rewarding as a coach.
“This is better,” she said. “Being on the coaching staff is so incredible because girls listen and execute everything they learned. Being on the field is completely different than being part of the staff. Now that I’m on the other side more mature and as an adult, it may be more stressful, but it is more rewarding.”
St. Margaret’s 2
La Salle 1
The Lancers squandered a one-goal lead and fell to visiting St. Margaret’s of San Juan Capistrano, 2-1, in the CIF State Division 4 Southern Regional championship at Kohorst Field last Saturday.
Tatum Mediano scored late in the first half to give La Salle (19-6 overall) a 1-0 lead. The Lancers held on to the lead through most of the second half but the Tartans finally find the back of the net in the 61st minute.
The visitors struck again eight minutes later and held off the home team to win the Southern Regional crown.
The Lancers defeated St. Margaret’s in a penalty kick shootout to claim the CIF Southern Section Division 4 championship on February 23.
La Salle earned a spot in the regional final by edging Westridge, 4-3, in a penalty kick shootout. The local squads tied, 1-1, in regulation and didn’t score in the overtime periods.