It was almost a fairytale ending to a narrative that started a year ago with Los Altos’ 1-0 upset over Archbishop Mitty (then ranked third in the nation) in the CCS semifinal game. Last Tuesday, February 25, the Eagles took the field against Archbishop Mitty once again, but this time in the first round of CCS. The game was nothing short of nail-biting and gut-wrenching and its outcome was determined by a post-overtime shootout, in which Los Altos ultimately fell to the Monarchs 1-2, as penalty kicks technically do not contribute to the final score of the game.
The Eagles went into their first round CCS game against the soccer powerhouse already at a disadvantage, having played their last several games without a number of their key starters. This game would see two mainstays of the field sit out: junior Rebecca Andrews and senior Katie Winters.
The first half of the game was characterized by stiff offense by the Monarchs. As Mitty made an early push, it came close to scoring on multiple occasions; this dynamic stayed consistent throughout the game and would continue into the second half and through the overtime periods. Mitty’s offensive plays consistently kept it on Los Altos’ end of the field, but the Eagles managed to stave off every attempted push.
Ten minutes into the second half (each half is 40 minutes) however, junior Allie Crum managed to break free of Mitty’s defense and score the first goal of the game. It appeared as if the game would end in the same fashion as last year’s matchup had. But the Monarchs, desperate to even up the score, would continue to push relentlessly and returned the favor in the 83rd minute of the game with just seven minutes of play left.
The clock expired on the tied game, but in CCS, tying is not an option. This led to two additional 10 minute time periods in which no more goals were scored, though overtime witnessed several close saves—one of which included a save by senior Paige Eller just inches from the goal halfway through the first period of overtime. The second overtime period would also see senior Sophia Hyver sustain a leg injury, after which she was escorted off the field. The game then moved into a shoot-out.
The tension in the air was palpable as each team sent its players to the box. First up for Los Altos was Allie, who failed to score. As the shoot-out progressed, Los Altos only managed to score three three out of the allotted five shots (the shoot-out only had to go to four kicks), while the Monarchs scored each of their shots, leading them to a technical 2-1 victory and bringing the game to an emotional end.
The loss, though met with disappointment, was nothing to be ashamed of, according to head coach Armando Luna.
“The girls stepped up [and] they played a great game,” Luna said. “We’ve been consistent and that’s something that every coach looks for. Losing on PKs is nothing to be ashamed about, it’s kind of like a toss-up there.”
The sentiment in the team echoed Luna’s.
“No one was particularly upset about losing in the end, but more upset that we won’t be playing together again,” Katie said. “We had a good season so no one is disappointed with the results.”
Despite the loss, Los Altos not only finished second in league behind Mountain View this year (7-2-3), but also closed out the year with a strong performance against one of the state’s top soccer powerhouses. The team hopes to do the same next year, with future seasons looking bright.
“I think next year we’ll be solid,” Luna said. “We’ll lose a few key players like Julia [Goupil], Sophia, Katie and Paige, but on the upside, we have seven sophomores and six freshmen on the team, so we have a lot of strong players that are really young. They didn’t necessarily get a lot of chances to play this year, but they’ll have some experience, especially after a game like this one; it’ll season them up for next year.”