ENCINITAS — Just when it looked as if the San Pasqual High School had a chance against powerhouse Serra in the San Diego Section girls' field hockey finals at Diegueno Junior High Saturday, Serra got 4 late goals to win, 5-1.
It was the eighth time in the last nine years that Serra (20-0) has won the section title. Last year, it lost on strokes to Fallbrook, ending a streak of seven straight titles.
"I'm glad we got it back," Serra Coach Laurie Berger said. "I wish they wouldn't do this to me, though. They always wait for 15 minutes left in the game and then they decide to pour it on."
Serra escaped the first half with a 1-1 tie, after being dominated. Through the first half and for 21:23 of the second, San Pasqual's 5-3-2 defense was able to frustrate Serra, which persisted in attacking in the middle of the field rather than spreading out. But then two things happened to turn the game into a rout.
First, sophomore Ethelene Mendoza knocked in a rebound of a Kris Fillat shot for a 2-1 Serra lead with 8:37 left. On the play, San Pasqual goalkeeper Joann Reynolds deflected Fillat's shot to Mendoza, who put it in the left corner. In attempting to make the save on Mendoza's shot, Reynolds aggravated an already pulled muscle in her left thigh.
"After I pulled the muscle, I couldn't move," said Reynolds.
San Pasqual Coach Pat Sheehan said: "Right then, I knew in my heart that if Joann couldn't move, we were in trouble.
Sheehan, whose team finished 10-9, said he thought about replacing Reynolds in goal, but his only substitute was a junior varsity player and he didn't want to subject her to the pressure.
Mendoza's second goal, 3:04 later, was almost identical to her first. Fillat's shot was saved and Mendoza was there to slam in the rebound. Within the next three minutes, Julia Taylor scored twice and the game was over.
Fillat, who set a section record for the most goals in a season with 53, was unable to score for the first time all season. She finished her three-year career with 106 goals, which tied the section record set by Mare Chung, also of Serra, in four years from 1980-83.