|On February 25th, 2012 the Scotts Valley Falcons girls varsity soccer team traveled to Aptos High School to play the Crystal Springs Uplands Gryphons in the Central Coast Section (CCS) Division III Quarterfinals game of the playoffs. The Gryphons have had a fantastic season completely dominating their league and their preseason opponents. The Gryphons had compiled a 2011-12 season record of 18 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties while going 15 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie in their league play. The Gryphons had been awarded the #8 seed in the CCS Division III playoff bracket. The Gryphons had scored an impressive 111 goals in their season while their stubborn defense had only allowed 11 goals scored. The team was ranked in the MaxPreps Sports Rankings as #278 nationally, #167 in California and #16 in the CCS. The Gryphons had won a close match in their first CCS soccer match to advance to the Quarterfinals against our Falcons.
Our Falcons entered the game after winning their third in a row Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League (SCCAL) championship title with a record of 9 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties. We had an impressive overall 2011-12 season record of 12 wins, 4 losses and 4 ties. We continue to be ranked #1 in the Santa Cruz Sentinel Power Poll Rankings for Santa Cruz County. We are ranked in MaxPreps Sports as #218 in the nation, #129 in California and # 13 in the CCS. We were awarded the #1 seed in the CCS Division III Playoff bracket. Our get the job done offense has scored 33 goals this year while our tough defense has only allowed 9 goals scored. Our extremely tough schedule during the preseason, competing in the Tri Valley Classic Soccer Tournament and our extremely competitive SCCAL has exposed our Falcons to great competition, close games and a rigorous expectation to overcome adversity.
We went into this game knowing that the Gryphons were going to come at us with everything they had including a scoring machine for an offense and defense that shuts the door down on everyone they've played. Both teams started the game by managing passes together in order to build an attack. The Falcons had their confidence, energy and focus ready to go from the start. Our Falcons challenged every play and loose ball with an effort that would dictate the game. In the 30th minute of the game we received a corner kick on the right sideline corner. The kick was taken by senior Sonja Gustafsson who delivered a perfectly placed kick to the center of the Gryphons goal. Senior captain Jordin Carlson beat her defender and leaped into the air while using her head to decisively drill the pass into the right side of the net for our first goal. The Falcons knew we had a long way to go so after a brief congratulations they went back to work. Our Falcons continued to control the ball and put pressure on the Gryphons defense and midfielders. The Falcons nearly scored on several open net opportunities but the Gryphons defense kept strong and did not allow another goal in the half. The first half had the Falcons putting 7 shots on goal while the Gryphons were held to 0 shots on goal. The half ended being, Falcons 1 to the Gryphons 0.
At half time we praised our Falcons for their effort and tenacity but warned them to be patient in building their attack and putting away open net shots. The Falcons came out for the second half with more confidence and tenaciousness while expecting more of themselves. The Falcons built several attacks and put several great shots on frame but were denied. In the 43rd minute we received another corner kick from the left sidelines corner. Again, senior Sonja Gustafsson took the kick and delivered another perfectly placed pass to the front of the Gryphons goal. This time senior captain Emily Payne perfectly timed her leap above the defense and sharply headed the pass into the lower right portion of the goal past a diving Gryphons goalkeeper. The Falcons weren't finished and went back to work controlling the field of play. The Falcon defense did a fantastic job shutting down the Gryphons forwards and not allowing them any good looks at our goal. In the 76th minute we received a throw in on the right sidelines approximately 30 yards from the Gryphons goal. Freshman Taylor Raymond took the throw in and delivered a prefect one bounce pass to senior Shanan McFall in the middle of the field. Shanan settled the ball and kicked a perfect shot that looped over a leaping Gryphons goalkeeper and into the top left corner of the net for our third goal. The Falcons celebrated a well deserved goal by Shanan. The second half ended with the Falcons putting 11 more shots on goal while the Gryphons put 1 shot on goal. The final score ended up being, Falcons 3 to the Gryphons 0.
I want to thank the Gryphons for their competitive spirit and a challenging match. We congratulate the Gryphons for having a fantastic year.
The Falcon goal-tending was again played by junior captain Emily Johnson who once again was the brick wall to our defense. Kudos also go to backup goalkeeper, sophomore Claire Covert who put in minutes at the end of the game.
Once again our Falcon defense did a superb job shutting down a formidable foe. Our defense rallied around the play of our senior captain Jordin Carlson, senior captain Kalynn Morano, junior Kacey Lilly and sophomore Megan Keating.
The Falcon midfielders were another key ingredient on taking such a dominating victory. Our outside midfielders were senior Ranae Maloney, senior Jessica Romeo, junior Rachel DuBridge, senior Kathryn Balch, sophomore Melinda Lane and freshman Megan Miller. Our inside midfielders were senior captain Emily Payne, junior captain Madison Black, sophomore Lena Gustafsson and senior Shanan McFall.
Our Falcon forwards had a great game making runs and working together with their midfielders to put an awesome and relentless attack that overwhelmed the Gryphons defense. The forwards were played by senior Sonja Gustafsson, sophomore Darby McFall, junior Jessica DuBridge and freshman Taylor Raymond.
The Falcons have come together as a team and are supporting each other with the good and bad. Our record now stands at 13 wins, 4 losses and 4 ties on the season. We will be advancing to the CCS Semifinal match against Menlo High School from Atherton. We will play on Wednesday, February 29th, 7 PM at Valley Christian High School in San Jose. The Menlo Knights are 14 wins, 4 losses and 2 ties on the season while being nationally ranked at #326, California ranked at #198 and ranked in the CCS at #19 by MaxPreps Sports. The Knights are seeded #4 in the CCS Division III Playoffs brackets.