Sunny Hills girls earn another shot at Division 2 title
FULLERTON - For much of the first half of Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals, the Sunny Hills girls soccer team controlled the ball in its offensive zone. Westlake turned the tables for the final 10 minutes of the second half, making for a tense conclusion to an elimination match.
A shot off the crossbar and a free kick by Westlake’s best player added to the drama. But the Sunny Hills’ sideline could finally relax when the referee blew the final whistle, capping a 1-0 Lancers’ victory that sends them to the title game for the second consecutive season.
Shawna Wilson scored the game’s lone goal 10 minutes into the contest. After Nicole Griffith’s corner kick was deflected toward the middle of the field, the ball found Wilson, who volleyed it off her chest and booted it toward the goal. The ball bounced off the keeper’s hands and into the net.
“Our goal the whole year was to get to March 2,” Wilson said. “Last year we made it to the finals and it sucked to lose. This year we’ve been on a mission to get there. We’re finally there and it feels great.”
Top-seeded Sunny Hills (24-1-5), which has gone 29 consecutive matches without a loss, will try to get over the hump Saturday against No. 3 Long Beach Wilson. The time and place of the game will be announced by the CIF-SS on Wednesday.
Wilson’s goal was the difference, but it was the Lancers’ defensive unit that she is part of that once again starred for Sunny Hills.
Kirsten Martin, Kendra Serrano, Bethany Hanson, Jewels Zuniga and Wilson helped the Lancers earn their 21st shutout of the season. Martin, who at her own request moved from the left flank to the center to mark Arielle Ship, Westlake’s star player, all but shut down the U17 national team player.
“Our team starts with defense,” Sunny Hills coach Jeff Gordon said, “and we know that we’re in every game because we have girls that are going to battle and find a way to shut down the other team.”
It could be what puts Sunny Hills over the top on Saturday.