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Buena Can Collar Only a Tie for Its Second Title

Division II girls' soccer final: Bulldogs rally on goal by Boys, who also makes key play on defense, to get even with Mission Viejo.


LA MIRADA — Natalie Sanderson wasn't sure why she was crying.

It might have been because her team lost. Or because it won.

It's never easy to emotionally process a tie, which is what happened Saturday at La Mirada High.

Buena High tied Mission Viejo, 1-1, for the Southern Section Division II girls' soccer championship.

No. 2-seeded Buena dominated play in the second half but needed to come from behind to salvage a co-championship with the top-seeded Diablos.

Southern Section rules do not permit overtime or penalty kicks in championship soccer games.

"It's confusing," said Sanderson, Buena's standout forward. "It's like, 'What are you supposed to feel?' "

Buena (28-1-2), which won the Division II title last season, should feel cheated because of its edge in shots on goal, corner kicks and possession time.

But Buena should feel lucky because the goal it scored was controversial and it took a stellar play by defender Megan Boys to keep the game scoreless in the first half.

Either way, a championship is a championship. Sort of.

"It feels like it's not a closed book," said Buena Coach Trish Butterbaugh. "But to be honest, I think we're happy deep down."

The Bulldogs should be happy that Boys was able to shake off a knee injury she suffered in the 35th minute. She returned two minutes later and headed away a header by midfielder Kendel Billingsley, who is headed for UCLA.

Buena goalie Currie Hunt was out of position for the play, but Boys was in the right place, near the left post.

"I did not want them to score," Boys said. "Do anything you can to not let the ball go in."

Boys was involved in another monumental play in the 68th minute.

Mission Viejo (17-1-8) scored in the 59th minute, Brittany Nachtrieb's shot from the right side ricocheting in off the left post, but Boys answered by heading in an indirect kick by Lisa Engel.

The ball was juggled by goalkeeper Katie Wright, who protested the call by saying she recovered in time to stop the ball from going over the goal line.

The linesman ruled it a goal. The game was tied.

Said Sanderson: "I was standing right behind [Boys]. It was the right call. I know that the goalie had it over the line."

Butterbaugh attempted to stop the co-championship confusion during a post-game talk with her players.

She reminded them that their two-year record was an impressive 60-1-2 and that, despite the tie, they still have an edge on Mission Viejo.

"Do they have back-to-back championships?" she asked her players. "No. You guys do."

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