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Friday, Feb 22 2013 11:34 PM

Highland girls win third straight title

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    HHS vs Liberty Madera Girls Soccer-1 Highland Girls Soccer team celebrates and hold up their plaque after their third Valley Championship against Liberty- Madera.

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    HHS vs Liberty Madera Girls Soccer-2 After scoring the only point of the match #2 Danielle Vargas of Highland throws a kiss to the crowd she celebrates with teammates.

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    HHS vs Liberty Madera Girls Soccer-2 #2 Danielle Vargas of Highland celebrates with teammates after scoring the only point of the Valley Championships.

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    HHS vs Liberty Madera Girls Soccer-2 #9 Madera's Liberty High Emma Tucker and Highland High's #17 Paige Jano collide with each other during the Valley Championship match

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    HHS vs Liberty Madera Girls Soccer-2 #12 Oliva Neal of Madera's Liberty High takes a strike at the ball an almost kicks Highland's #2 Sydney Quintero.

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    HHS vs Liberty Madera Girls Soccer-2 #2 Danielle Vargas and #21 Payton Armijo of Highland have a pile up with the goalie and other players from Liberty of Madera in the Valley Championship match held at Highland.

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    HHS vs Liberty Madera Girls Soccer-1 Highland Girls Soccer team celebrates after their third Valley Championship against Liberty- Madera.

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BY ESTEBAN RAMIREZ Special to The Californian

With a late goal from forward Danielle Vargas, the Highland High girls soccer team beat Liberty-Madera Ranchos 1-0 in the Central Section Division III championship game.

The win gave the Scots a third consecutive section title.

"It's beyond excitement," Highland coach Tom Ferralli said. "Getting to a Valley championship once is something in itself, twice and then the third time ... it only gets better.

"It's just beyond exciting -- so proud of what they did. They battled all season long and we finished undefeated on our home field. When you see all these people out here that supported us, it's just all about pride and this feeling is just fantastic."

Just like in their two previous playoff games, the Scots (20-6-2) had trouble in the first half as the Hawks controlled possession and kept the ball on the Scots' side of the field.

The Hawks (23-4-3) had more shots on goal in the first half as well, 8-3.

Fortunately for the Scots, their defense, along with goalkeeper Rebecca Vega, was in top form as it held off the Hawks offense to keep the game tied 0-0 at halftime.

In the second half, the Scots turned the table on the Hawks as they came out as the more aggressive and attacking team.

"We definitely seemed to be a second-half team this year, and it's evident with how we played the last two games and today," Ferralli said.

The Scots offense started to get more shots on goal in the second half, but just couldn’t manage to break the scoreless tie. Then, with five minutes left in the game, Vargas scored the go-ahead goal, which went through the hands of Hawks goalkeeper Allison Seather.

“I actually thought she was going to catch it, but it went through her hands," said Vargas, who also scored the go-ahead goal against Visalia-Central Valley Christian in the semifinals. “I was so excited and so happy, and I knew that we did it.”

Vargas commented on the school winning its third straight title.

“I’m so happy for my team because we have come so far. I’m just very proud of them. It’s really exciting for me because I have been here since my freshman year and so far I have gotten Valley all three years. Not everybody gets to do that.”

Ferralli shared in the emotion.

“These are my girls,” he said.  “I spent four months with them; they have become part of my life and they’re just like my own. I’m just so excited for them and I’m blessed that I could be a part of their life.”

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