No team in the Central Coast Section Open Division girls soccer playoffs scored more goals this season than top-seed Mountain View High, which racked up 57 before beating Burlingame 6-0 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, however, one squad found a way to stymie the Spartans’ high-octane offense.
No. 4 St. Ignatius shut out host Mountain View 2-0 Feb. 19, snapping the Spartans’ three-year streak of making the Open final.
“They defend really well,” coach Ivan Bandov said of the Wildcats, only the third team to hold Mountain View scoreless this season. “They limited us pretty good.”
St. Ignatius paid particular attention to freshman phenom Allie Montoya, the Spartans’ leading scorer (17 goals, 16 assists). While the forward acknowledged the Wildcats’ defensive effort, she also opined that her team didn’t do enough to overcome it.
“I thought that if we fought a little harder and wanted it more, then we could have won,” Montoya said. “Even though we did fight, I thought we could have fought more.”
For most of the game, it was an even fight. The score was 0-0 until the 70th minute, when St. Ignatius forward Olivia Carroll drilled a 10-yard shot into the right side of the net.
“I couldn’t tell fully from my angle if it was offside or not, but she was obviously clearly by herself,” Bandov said. “It was just a ball you want to clear higher up the field, and we didn’t get that opportunity. Sometimes you get unlucky, and that was the definition of an unlucky goal. But they put it away, so you have to get them credit.”
That prompted the coach to push his players forward in hopes of creating more scoring chances, but the Spartans (18-2-2 overall) got only one – a shot by senior striker Emma Lewis that goalie Audrey Schaffer snared with just under nine minutes on the clock.
St. Ignatius (10-3-7) doubled the lead in the final minute on a breakaway goal by forward Kelly Wall.
The Spartans’ best scoring opportunity came in the 25th minute when Montoya crossed the ball to sophomore midfielder Sistine Noel in front of the goal.
“We hit a point-blank shot, and their keeper made a save, and then we shot another ball that was cleared off the line,” Bandov said. “That’s a play where nine out of 10 times that ball goes in, but you also need a little bit of luck to win these type of games.”
This wasn’t Mountain View’s last game, despite the loss. The Spartans qualified for the Northern California Division II playoffs as the No. 3 seed and were slated to host No. 6 Livermore Tuesday, after the Town Crier’s deadline. The winner advances to Thursday’s semifinals.
For Montoya and her teammates, it’s a chance at redemption.
“We want to see how far we can make it in NorCal,” she said.