Sarah Stoney scored on a direct free kick with 10 minutes remaining to lift Capistrano Valley High School to a 1-0 victory over Upland Wednesday in a Southern Section 4-A girls' soccer match at Capistrano Valley.
"It was just luck," said Stoney, a junior halfback.
Perhaps. But it also took a sharp eye, a strong leg and a realization that hers was a golden opportunity in what at many times appeared to be a no-win situation.
Capistrano Valley (17-4-3), ranked fifth in the 4-A division, will play second-seeded West Torrance (14-4-6), a 1-0 winner over Claremont, in a semifinal match Tuesday at a site to be determined.
Upland, which was seeded third, finished 17-2-6.
"This was definitely one of our better games," said Steve Bignal, Capistrano Valley coach. "Though the girls have got to learn that when they get tired, they have to get off the field (ask to be substituted for)."
Bignal's comment was in response to the Cougars' occasional sluggishness, especially in the beginning of the second half. Capistrano Valley seemed to be having a tough time concentrating, as passes were being made without targets and positions were being played without reason.
"Let's get fired up out there, girls!" Bignal shouted 15 minutes into the second half. "You're all standing around. Stop letting the ball get away from you."
Capistrano Valley responded with an increased offensive intensity--the Cougars outshot Upland by 10-5 in the second half and 21-12 for the game--and a tight-packed defense anchored by goalkeeper Pam Gladden and fullbacks Cindy Attaway and Jill Linhart.
Gladden, a senior, played especially well. She made six saves, four of which sent her crashing to the ground after she collided with an oncoming Upland player.
Gladden's fourth save, which ended in a full-speed, head-on collision with Upland striker Dina D'Andrea, nearly knocked her out of the game. As Gladden tried unsuccessfully to get up, a referee told Bignal to make a substitution.
A few seconds later, Gladden, a bit dazed but otherwise all right, got up and resumed her position. This was fortunate for Capistrano Valley, as the Cougars have no other varsity goalie.