What a great experience! CIF-CCS Division I and II Semi-Finals! Great plays by great players…again, it was my pleasure observing and enjoying super playmakers in four super contests, highlights follow:
Semi-Day 1, Game 1, Division II, St. Ignatius 9-4 over Presentation: in a game where Presentation had difficulty scoring, Saint Ignatius scored enough early, then put the game away with four unanswered goals at the end, primarily relying on the strength of their senior Goalkeeper, Francesca Puccinelli, and her eleven saves, three steals and one assist. The winning Wildcats were led by Carla Tocchini with four goals, two assists and two field blocks, and her senior teammates Susan Providenza (2 goals, 1 assist) and Caoimhe Slevin (1 goal, 1 steal, 1 field block) also contributed.
Shown at left are Referees Rachel McCracken and Jorge Aguilera giving instructions to the Saint Ignatius Co-Captains Francesca Puccinelli, #1, Carla Tocchini, #11, and the Presentation Co-Captains Lesley Kerley, #11, and Josephine Andrews, #5, prior to the start of their match.
Semi-Day 1, Game 2, Division II, Sacred Heart Prep (SHP) 11-5 over Castilleja: my Coastal Cal friend Brenda Villa (3-time Olympian and recent Gold Medal winner for TEAM USA) is the head coach of Castilleja, and she and her assistant, Kim Krueger, had their work cut out for them as their #4 seed was facing D2 #1 SHP. It was not to be for her “Gators,” as the (also) “Gators” of SHP jumped out to a 6-0 lead at halftime, then cruised to 9-3 after three. Senior driver Grace Arnold of Castilleja led all scorers with 3 goals, but SHP had several girls with goals — starters P.J. Bigley, Bridgette Harper, Malaika Koshy, Morgan McCracken and Caitlin Stuewe all scored — as well as Camille Zelinger as the reserve set. Head Coach of SHP, Jon Burke, was quite pleased with his club’s control of the game on both offense and defense, which should lead the way to a sixth consecutive D-II Championship.
Semi-Day 2, Game 1, Division I, St. Francis 11-7 over Archbishop Mitty: Saint Francis was the most well-balanced team of the west bay area, turning a 6-4 halftime lead into a 9-5 third quarter domination of Mitty. Katherine Moore, Francis’ junior goalkeeper, had 9 saves, one on a 1-on-GK, 2 assists and 1 steal to lead her ballclub of almost all juniors to the victory. Although Mitty had a strong performance by junior Center Forward Sabrina Sherrin, Francis’ starters Courtney Batcheller, Brittany Kirwan, Eela Ngaraj, Tegan Stanbach and Sami Strutner all scored. Going in to the D1 Final, confirmed by Saint Francis Head Coach Brendon Ruetebuch, his team only had losses to CIF-NCS foes Campolindo and San Ramon, NCS D2 and D1 Champions respectively, and CIF-CS foe Clovis West, eventual D1 Champion in that section… Nice work, ladies!~
Semi-Day 2, Game 2, Division I, Leland 8-7 over Menlo-Atherton: clearly the most competitive/closely contested game of the four. Leland, with its 22 win record, was clearly the stonger, quicker, better skilled ball club, but could not manage a score in the first half when needed and fell behind 0-1 in the second period, barely to score a lob goal before halftime to draw even. In the third quarter, speedy seniors Alison Griffeth, Jamie Nolan and Katie Peck, connected on five counterattacks to jump ahead, only to let Menlo close the gap with extra player opportunities cashed-in. Griffeth had 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 goal to go along with Peck’s assist, steal and field block, but it was Nolan’s 5 goals that led the game. Jessica Heilman of Menlo had 4 goals, many of the “5+ direct-free throw type” following a misplaced ordinary foul by Leland players. None-the-less, the last opportunity was bar-down no-goal, and Leland advanced as predicted.