In a heart-pumping CCS semifinal game, the varsity girls soccer team defeated top seed Archbishop Mitty High School, claiming a 1-0 victory over the soccer powerhouse and securing a spot in the CCS finals. The Eagles overcame stiff competition, as Archbishop Mitty won the CCS title for the last two years in a row and is ranked third in the nation. In contrast, Los Altos climbed to the top of its division this season, despite failing to make CCS altogether last year and playing with a young roster this year. The victory puts Los Altos in the CCS final for the first time in six years.
Both teams came out strong in the first half, with players on both sides fighting hard for every ball. Mitty pressured Los Altos from the start and dominated the first few minutes of play, but Los Altos held its ground and quickly rallied to answer the challenge.
The match soon became a back and forth game between the speed and force-oriented strategy of Mitty and Los Altos’ steady defensive tactics. As the half went on, Los Altos was gradually able to gain possession of the ball more frequently, which gave players more and more chances to score.
In the last few minutes of the first quarter, sophomore Allie Crum took a shot from outside the box with an assist from junior Sophia Hyver and put it in the net. Mitty’s goalie was unable to respond to the well-placed shot in far upper right corner of the goal, and the Eagles gained a lead that they never relinquished.
The second half of the game saw the Eagles employ a more defensive strategy as Mitty came out roaring and tried to make a comeback. Mitty, although traditionally an aggressive team, struggled against Los Altos’ rock-solid defense throughout the second half.
“Their biggest threat are their forwards since they’re all extremely aggressive and fast, but our defense is our biggest threat so we were able to shut them down from going to [the] goal most of the game,” Captain senior Sabrina Petros said.
Mitty’s swift forwards pushed hard, but the Eagles remained composed and shut them down consistently. Junior Julia Goupil made a number of decisive stops all throughout the last half, while freshman goalie Carrie Wendelken made key saves towards the end of the game to keep the Eagles in the lead. Ultimately, Mitty couldn’t press effectively enough to break Los Altos’ defensive line, leading to its downfall.
“We stuck to what we know, and that’s passing the ball and building up the ball from the back,” sophomore Elena Strawn said. “We stayed true to our game by not letting the other team get to our head.”
Another factor that played into the outcome of the game was Mitty’s overconfidence, which may have stemmed from the school’s strong history in CCS. The Eagles were able to take advantage of Mitty’s underestimation.
“Mitty’s biggest mistake was already thinking about the finals and getting ahead of themselves, and a team should never do that,” Allie said.
Both teams played a solid game throughout both halves, but in the end, the game boiled down to the challenge of adapting to the other team’s strategy and executing accordingly. Los Altos was able to capitalize on its sound defense, while Mitty’s approach failed to give the team the upper-hand.
“The entire team and I obviously feel ecstatic about getting to the finals of CCS,” sophomore Rebecca Andrews said. “We have worked very hard this season and this game was a huge win for us. We are also hoping that the story doesn’t end here and that we can finish the season out with one last win.”
The Eagles will play Saint Francis High School at Valley Christian High School in the CCS finals on Saturday, March 2.