West Torrance High girls soccer Coach Andy Bonchonsky is still waiting for that mythical fat lady. Bonchonsky says he could be in trouble if she doesn't appear one of these days.
Bonchonsky pirated a phrase from Yogi Berra after his Warriors traveled to Claremont for a hard-fought 1-0 quarterfinal playoff victory on Wednesday: "If we make it all the way to the finals and the fat lady still isn't singing, I'm gonna have to go out on the field and sing. That'll be pretty embarrassing. I hope she's hiding out in the stands somewhere."
It still isn't over for West, whose win on Wednesday guaranteed Bonchonsky the best finish in his five years at the school. The Warriors, who at 14-4-6 are the second-seeded team in the CIF 4-A Division playoffs, will meet Capistrano Valley in Tuesday's semifinals.
The game's only score came in the second half, when Teresa Bateman took a through pass from Katie Schonbachler and sliced it past Claremont's extended goalkeeper into the net.
From that point on, West played conservatively and relied on an aggressive, swarming defense that smothered Claremont's forwards. The last serious scoring threat by Claremont came when Lori Maier broke loose on the wing and got wide open for a left volley, but West's Carolyn Hueth vacated the goal and sprawled on the ball with four minutes left.
"I thought the play Carolyn made might have been a little bit overzealous," Bonchonsky said. "But on that play she had to make a snap decision and she made the right one. I sure wouldn't want to go into a tackle with Carolyn."
The 6-0 senior Hueth, who has committed to play volleyball at Pepperdine next year, notched her second shutout of the playoffs.
"We knew it was going to be a battle coming in," Hueth said. "Especially after the first half, Claremont proved we couldn't hang on our laurels to win. Being ranked second in CIF isn't enough."
Bonchonsky said the heat and the physical play of Claremont didn't seem to affect his team.
"We usually try to use finesse and take it around the other team," Bonchonsky said. "We like to knock it around and use our speed in the back. But we definitely won't back out of tackles. Without that physical element you won't do much in soccer."