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ORANGE COUNTY * SOUTHERN SECTION SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
| DIVISION II GIRLS

Mission Viejo Shares Title With Buena

March 04, 2001|MELANIE NEFF | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Boos echoed through the stadium when the announcement was made that no overtime would be played, and the disappointment was obvious on the players' faces as they left the field after Mission Viejo and Ventura Buena played to a 1-1 tie in the Southern Section Division II girls' soccer final.

The teams were awarded a co-championship Saturday at La Mirada High.

"It's confusing," said Buena forward Natalie Sanderson, the Parade All-American and national player of the year. "I don't know what my emotions are right now. I was ready to go another 15 minutes and I know everyone else on my team was too. There is no ending this way."

It was even more of a letdown for top-seeded Mission Viejo (17-1-8), which felt it was cheated out of the victory on what the Diablos thought was a questionable goal by second-seeded Buena (22-1-3).

Buena midfielder Lisa Engel lofted a free kick from the corner of the box to the far post where sophomore defender Megan Boys headed the ball directly at Diablo goalkeeper Katie Wright. Wright caught the ball and fell near the goal line. Officials ruled the ball crossed the line, tying the score at 1-1.

"It didn't go all the way over the line," said Wright, a sophomore. "When I picked it off it was right on the line."

Diablo Coach Susie Daher questioned the play, but wouldn't contradict the officials' ruling. She did, however, add her feelings on the issue about overtime.

"When you get to this stage of the game, you have some of the best players competing and they are ready to keep going," Daher said. "These games are decided by the team with the most depth and the team that can hang in the longest and I think the girls deserve the chance to be able to play until the end."

It took the Diablos almost an entire half to get their offense in rhythm, which Daher attributed to the fact that their bus suffered a flat tire on the way to the game and the team had only six minutes of practice before game time.

However, after a scoreless first half, Daher moved UCLA-bound midfielder Kendal Billingsley up top, taking two Buena defenders with her and opening up space on the wings. Portland-bound midfielder Lindsay Huie took advantage and sent a through ball to midfielder Jen Thais in front of the goal. Thais' shot ricocheted off the post and slammed back into the opposite corner of the goal in the 59th minute.

It was Mission Viejo's third appearance in the finals since 1998, when it won the title with a victory over Capistrano Valley. In 1999, the Diablos lost to Claremont.

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