The one question the Woodside girls’ soccer team had yet to answer this season was how the Wildcats would respond while trailing. Through 18 games this year, the Wildcats had never been behind.
Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Erika Negrete fights for the ball in Woodside's 2-1 win over Carlmont
Until Tuesday against Carlmont. The Scots took a 1-0 lead 12 minutes into the match and Woodside coach Jose Navarrete would finally get his answer.
The Wildcats passed the test with flying colors. They tied the score about seven minutes later and scored the game winner in the 25th minute as they beat Carlmont 2-1 to clinch the Peninsula Athletic League’s Bay Division championship.
"I tell the girls, ‘Don’t panic. We can score goals in bunches and not doing anything the rest of the game,’” Navarrete said. "We won ugly, but today it tastes good.”
Not that Woodside (12-0-1 PAL Bay, 17-0-2 overall) cruised the rest of the way. Carlmont (9-3-1) threw everything it had at the Wildcats in the second half, coming agonizingly close to tying the game on a couple of occasions, but came up short.
Scots’ coach Tina Doss was disappointed, however.
"My team gave everything they had,” Doss said. "They played fantastic.”
The last 15 minutes of the game was played almost exclusively in the Woodside end as Carlmont pressed to get the equalizer. Freshman striker Kayla Fong had three legitimate opportunities to tie the score, but was stoned twice by Woodside goalkeeper Sabrina Proctor, who finished with five saves for the game — four in the second half.
"We hadn’t seen Sabrina Proctor all year and she came up big. She doesn’t get a lot of work,” Navarrete said. "We wanted to keep playing (our attacking game), but [Carlmont’s] aggressiveness prevented us from putting passes together.”
The Woodside defense was scrambling to keep the Scots at bay and while it wasn’t pretty at times, the Wildcats did the job.
"It looked messy,” said Woodside defender Gianna Rosati. "We hadn’t got much pressure (on our defense) this season.”
Carlmont had an outside shot of taking the Bay Division title with a win over Woodside Tuesday and a Menlo-Atherton upset of the Wildcats Thursday. The Scots looked to be poised to hold up their end of the bargain when Melissa Wood took a pass from Maritza Gomez and hammered home a shot about 25 yards away to put the Scots up 1-0.
It didn’t take long for Woodside to respond, as the Wildcats scored the equalizer about seven minutes later. Woodside earned a corner kick and the ball was swung into the Carlmont penalty box, finding the head of Rosati, who headed the ball toward the goal where it deflected off a Carlmont defender and into the goal. It was Rosati’s 12th goal of the year.
"I’m like a foot taller than everyone,” Rosati said of her knack to score on headers. "I’m just excited to get a chance (to score).”
The Wildcats scored what turned out to be the game winner in the 25th minute. After several minutes of heavy pressure on the Scots’ defense, Jillienne Aguilera took a pass from Heather Seybert, turned and fired off a shot that was blocked by a defender. The ball, however, trickled behind the defense and Lauren Holland pounced on the loose ball, slamming a shot into the right corner of the net.
Woodside had a couple more chances in the second half but spent most of the final 40 minutes holding off the Scots.
"We never talked about this (when we could clinch the championship),” Navarrete said. "Never did [the team] look forward and never did they look back. They were just so focused (on the game at hand).