Motivated by last year’s loss in the Central Coast Section Open Division final, the Mountain View High girls soccer team beat Mitty 3-1 in Friday’s title game at Santa Clara University.
“We lost a tough one last year to Woodside and to come back versus Mitty – (which is) a powerhouse – I think we’ve really shown we’re the best team this year,” coach Ivan Bandov said. “I’m just so happy for the girls. They deserved this night.”
Although Mountain View wasn’t the top seed in the Open like last season, the second-seeded Spartans (18-1-3) outplayed No. 1 Mitty (17-2-3) for most of the match and never trailed.
Mountain View was more aggressive and held the ball longer than the Monarchs did.
Mitty played with only three defenders, and the Spartans took advantage of that. The ploy made it easy for Mountain View’s speedy wing players; they only had to beat one fullback to put the Monarchs in a precarious position.
The Spartans also excelled on defense, clearing most balls and correctly marking athletic forward Hailey Smith.
Mountain View got on the scoreboard in the 14th minute when Natasha Harris beat a defender to the ball and sent a low, diagonal pass to Maddie Neidig. Neidig tried to turn with the ball, but it escaped – only to land near Laura Carceroni, who beat a defender to finish her scoring chance.
“It feels awesome on a personal level and also on a team level,” Carceroni said of the victory. “I want to do everything that I can for these girls. They’re my family basically. It felt so great.”
One minute before halftime, the Spartans doubled their lead. On a corner kick, Karissa Hayes played the ball to Lucienne Tang. She gave it back to Hayes, who sent a cross that resulted in a goal.
Most of Mitty’s few scoring chances came on set pieces. In the 57th minute, Amaya Zabalza sent a cross to Paris Fox, who outjumped several Mountain View players to head the ball into the net to cut Mountain View’s lead in half.
The goal gave Mitty hope – until the 64th minute. That’s when Carceroni booted a low, diagonal pass that found Hayes, who took a shot from just inside the box. The Mitty goalkeeper dove to her left, but she wasn’t able to deflect enough of the shot and the ball went into the net.
“I feel amazing,” said Hayes, who scored two goals in a game for the first time this season. “I don’t know where those goals came from.”
Now down 3-1, Mitty had some chances but couldn’t capitalize against a Mountain View team determined to win its second CCS crown in three years.
“We were exhausted; our midfield ran their socks off,” Bandov said. “We were just fighting on fumes the last 10 minutes. But that just comes down to the heart and desire they have to finish the job.”
The win marked the Spartans’ second against a West Catholic Athletic League team in this year’s playoffs. Two days earlier, Mountain View edged St. Francis 2-1 in the semifinals on goals by Hayes and Neidig.