Over two dozen great games this weekend as 7 Divisions completed their Quarterfinal competion. I was fortunate to be able to attend two in Division III.
Arroyo Grande at Mira Costa
Mira Costa, the Bay League Co-champions with Palos Verdes, drew the #1 league seed via coin flip. It was clearly not the better route for the Bay, since Arroyo Grande was entering the game with 24 wins and only 7 losses for the season and over 100 consecutive League wins.
Seizing every early opportunity they had, AG mounted a four goal lead and held on the entire game, winning 9-4. According to head coach Steven Allen, “Best game of the Season for us! We did great in League, but just couldn’t put everything together until today.”
Team star Alexis Elias (4 goals), summarized her team’s play as “very motivated. We may have started a bit nervous, being away, but we played hard throughout and kept the momentum going.” When asked regarding ‘when she felt her team had enough cushion to coast to the win,’ she replied, “at the final buzzer!”
On the losing side, KAI~Polo made contact with scoring sensation Kaylee Brownsberger of Mira Costa. In true freshman exhuberation, she commented “Three more years!” as this Costa team is really young and has a lot to prove in the future.
Upland at Palos Verdes
Palos Verdes, the Bay League Co-Champions with Mira Costa, drew what appeared to be a worse seed against League Champion Upland. It was a very entertaining game. In true Southern California fashion, the game started ~35 minutes late as the Upland Team Bus was caught in traffic due to multiple events on the peninsula. After an even-paced warm up, the teams lined up for introductions, a nice touch since Mira Costa skipped those formalities.
Both teams had ample opportunities in the first half which ended in a 4-4 tie. Upland had the early edge as their #10, Junior Britt Harris, was all over the pool, stealing, assisting and scoring a couple of goals for an early 4-2 lead. But PV crawled back in to the game with a #4 Ellie D’Ambra pass to #7 Junior Kendyl Johnson for a quick shot. Following that goal, a beautiful Senior Goalkeeper Carly Radov outlet pass to Sophomore Kate Roan evened the scoreline right before halftime.
Then came the PV fireworks, led by Senior Co-Captains D’Ambra and Radov. D’Ambra (5 goals) was formidable in the field, scoring an 8-meter lob, drawing and taking a penalty shot for a goal, assisting on a counter attack, drawing another ejection and scoring on a skipshot, and then taking a final PV opportunity for a sweep shot as she posted up, 10-6 lead. It really didn’t matter to PV fans that Upland closed the gap to 10-8 at the end.
Post-game: Coach Pat O’Brien, “We’re ready for Semis!”
His star Goalie: Carly Radov, when questioned about the fantastic long bomb before halftime, “Coach usually tells me which side, but if he’s shouting other instructions to others (such as which way to cut), then I can make my own decisions (on the outlet pass). I just have to make sure it doesn’t sail too far.” And it didn’t…
On the losing side, all-around threat Britt Harris was also approached after the game. Her comments, “We came out strong, we sent them a message, next year we’ll be back and get to Semis.” Congratulations, Upland (and Mira Costa) on a great year, bowing out at this juncture.
[ed. note: Alexis Elias, see above, as a potential superlative Division I Utility pick — driver and set — was slated on scholarship to Colorado State University (CSU)…unfortunatelly, a day or two before signing, they dropped their Women’s Varsity Polo program… My opinion: She is the real thing — colleges/universities needing a quality player should contact her ASAP, as she’s most interested in playing Varsity.]