Freshman Abby LaComb fights for the ball against a Delta defender in the girls' May 12 playoff game.

Soccer girls battle heat, more injuries to advance to semifinals for first time in over a decade

Freshman Abby LaComb fights for the ball against a Delta defender in the girls' May 12 playoff game.
Ethan Hockridge
Freshman Abby LaComb fights for the ball against a Delta defender in the girls’ May 12 playoff game.

For the first time in 14 years, the girls’ soccer team advanced to the semifinals after their 3-2 win over Delta High School at home on May 12.

The Cavs started out hard on the offensive, despite the 93-degree heat.

The girls got the ball up to the goal, and junior Avi Bhullar attempted to head the ball in, but missed.

They kept the ball up on the field, and when freshman Lia Kaufman got the ball close to midline, she booted it over the goalie’s head, scoring the first goal of the game.

The heat began to affect the Cavs, and they lost their forward momentum; however, they continued to battle.

The ball moved from one side of the field to the other very quickly.

Delta had great kicks and moved the ball up the field with ease.

Sophomore Evann Rudek played center back and prevented multiple goals. She ran down player after player, keeping them from attempting to score.

In addition on defense, senior Aidan Galati jumped in front of shot after shot to stop Delta from scoring.

The Cavs had fallen into a slump by the end of the first half.

The Saints were relentless and used any means necessary to work their way up the field, including pushing, shoving and elbowing.

But the Cavs weren’t going to give in, so they began to push and shove back.

The game quickly became violent, with fouls being called almost every minute.

“Careful,” one of the referees told the players.

Delta was throwing elbow after elbow, but the refs did not seem to notice.

“C’mon, refs!” the fans shouted after Kaufman was pushed to the ground by a Saint.

As the Cavs were on the defensive, freshman goalie Bella Mathisen had a lot to deal with. In one instance, the ball was barely over Mathisen’s head, but she knocked it down with her hands.

The ball continued to roll into the goal, but she quickly grabbed it, saving the team.

When the Cavs were on the offensive, they attempted many shots but were unable to follow through.

A corner kick by Kaufman landed the ball perfectly in front of the goal.

Junior Natalie Brown headed the ball towards the goal, but it barely missed to the right side.

Junior Kaeleigh Valverde kicked a ball from the left side, but the goalie barely made the catch over her head.

Freshman Abby LaComb also passed the ball up to sophomore Nina Dym, who tried to shoot the ball, but a Delta defender stopped it.

Kaufman also attempted to shoot, but the ball flew barely over the top of the goal.

A Delta player and Rudek were struggling to gain control of the ball, when the player pushed Rudek, sending her to the ground.

Rudek hyperextended her knee, putting her out of the game.

Teammates look on as assistant coach Gabriella Foster helps sophomore Evann Rudek, who hyperextended her knee.
Ethan Hockridge
Teammates look on as assistant coach Gabriella Foster helps sophomore Evann Rudek, who hyperextended her knee.

The Cavs having held Delta from the beginning of the first half, the score was 1-0 at halftime.

SCDS was reenergized at the start of the second half, and when the whistle blew, the girls shot out like a bullet leaving a rifle.

The girls did not allow Delta a minute of rest, pushing their hardest.

Their work paid off when there was a scuffle for the ball near Delta’s goal. Brown ended up with the ball, and simply had to tap it into the goal.

That made the score 2-0, which visibly angered the Delta girls.

The Cavs had lit a fire under the Saints, and they exploded.

Delta kept the ball off their side of the field and up close to the Cavs’ goal.

Mathisen came out of the goal to try and grab the ball, leaving the goal wide open.

Delta took the opportunity to shoot the ball and scored.

Delta quickly repeated, scoring another goal within minutes.

With the teams now tied 2-2, a new fire could be seen in the Cavs’ eyes.

They wanted to win, and nobody could stop them.

The game became increasingly violent, especially between Delta players and Kaufman, who was consistently knocked over, pushed, scratched and elbowed.

This only increased the Cavs’ ferocity.

Dym was also receiving rough play in the forward position.

The Cavs battled hard and finally followed through. The ball was located on the left edge of the field near the midpoint line on Delta’s side.

LaComb had the ball, and everyone believed she would kick it up to her teammates by the goal.

But she did the unexpected.

She booted the ball with all of her power, landing it in the goal right above the goalie’s head.

The crowd and team went wild as everyone in the stands got to their feet.

The Cavs now decided to play a defensive game.

Coach George Champayne moved both Kaufman and LaComb to defense.

As in previous games, the Cavs quickly began to tire. It looked as if Delta had the upper hand and would score at any moment, but the Cavs held on for dear life.

Player after player went down from dehydration and exhaustion. Both Brown and Valverde fell out due to cramps.

Valverde was taken out immediately, but Brown insisted on staying in the game. But the pain was eventually too much for her, so she was pulled.

“Everyone tried their hardest and fought through their many injuries,” freshman Brandy Riziki said.

The heat didn’t tax the girls just physically (“We were dropping like flies,” Champayne said).

“Part of this game is mental,” LaComb said. “It was super hot, and we pushed through, which was great, although I feel like I’m about to pass out.”

“Congratulations!” was Champayne’s first word to the girls after the game. “This was a team win, and we used everyone but the kitchen sink.”

Champayne played 17 of his 20 players.

“It was really good that we had everyone out to play,” LaComb said. “We couldn’t win without them.”

The Cavs’ next game is Wednesday, May 18. The opponent has yet to be determined.

—By Jack Christian

Print Friendly, PDF & Email