Preps

Tuesday, Feb 19 2013 11:03 PM

Scots rally past CVC, will go for three-peat

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Highland's Paige Jano, right, battles at mid-field with Taylor Van Den Berg of Central Valley Christian during girls soccer Division III semi-finals.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Central Valley Christian goalie Emily Whyte manages to hold onto the ball as Highland captain Alexia Gonzalez crashes into her at the Cavalier goal.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Ponytails fly as Highland freshman forward Payton Armijo races to the ball ahead of Hannah Fluegel of Central Valley Christian.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Highland goalie Rebecca Vega waits in a downpour for the action to return to her end of the field in the girls soccer Division III semi-final match against Central Valley Christian.

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BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian

History continues to repeat itself for the Highland High girls soccer team.

By posting another comeback victory, a 2-1 Central Section Division III semifinal thriller over No. 4 Central Valley Christian on Tuesday night, the two-time defending champion Scots are headed to their fifth title game since 2005.

Tied late, Danielle Vargas tallied a short goal to lift Highland to its 11th straight win on cold and windy night.

The top-seeded Scots will face the winner of today's semifinal between No. 3 East and No. 2 Liberty Madera Ranchos for the championship game on Friday.

The East-LMR game, scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed a day due to rain.

"It was so intense," Vargas said of Highland's victory Tuesday. "I was so scared but I knew that we could do it. That we could pull it off. But we just needed to work together, and we did it. We going to valley."

Despite the close call, Highland was clearly the better side, registering twice as many shots on goal (8-4) as CVC.

Just like in its playoff opener against Independence, Highland fell behind quickly against the Cavaliers.

"Two playoff games and we've given up a goal in each game in the first three minutes," Highland coach Tom Ferralli said. "So we are definitely coming out flat and picking it up towards the end. But that's just not the way we should walk on the field."

In the third minute, UC Davis-bound Nicole Bouvia struck a spectacular goal.

Positioned on the left wing she took possession of a bouncing ball and then all in one motion flipped it with her left foot over a Highland defender to her right foot and hit a high arching volley into the top right corner of the net.

That was one of only two first-half shots on goal for the Cavaliers.

Highland controlled most of the action throughout the contest but continued to trail until Ariell Jovan scored midway through the first half.

After receiving a pass from Payton Armijo about 20 yards in front of the goal, Jovan found a crease right through the middle of the CVC defense and slotted a bouncing shot straight into the back of the net.

Tied 1-1, the nasty weather took a turn for the worse at halftime as a fierce wind started blowing and the intensity of the rainfall increased.

Highland was forced to play the entire second half against the wind while on offense, making it difficult to advance the ball into scoring position. Still, the Scots controlled the action and created several scoring chances.

But none of them materialized into anything. Then, with just about 4 minutes left in regulation, Hailey Curtis blasted a low shot across the mouth of the goal that Alexia Gonzalez corralled and passed to Vargas for a quick strike into the left corner of the net.

"I'm so happy and I'm ready to get another ring," Vargas said. "I already have two and I'm ready for a third one."

The junior forward was also happy not to have to play overtime in the cool, wet weather. "It's really hard to play in the rain...It feels like you have frostbite. It really feels like that. You just have to play."

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