Friendly ground for the girls of Sanger High, the new CIF Division II Central Section champion
The Sanger High women’s soccer team learned the importance of home games in the playoffs last season when they lost in the CIF Division II Central Section Championship game, 3-2, on the road to Hanford High.
This time, the Apache Girls won the No. 1 seed in the same division and used goals from seniors Diana García and Karina González on Saturday night (February 26) to defeat San Luis Obispo in a noisy Tom Flores Stadium.
San Luis Obispo arrived as the No. 2 seed and finished the season 13-7-4.
“Last year we got the second seed and our section (league) didn’t go our way,” said García, who scored from a Remu Yasumoto corner five minutes into the second. period of a scoreless game.
“So just being home has a big advantage. This crowd is just amazing, and having everyone here to support you is simply the best feeling ever.
García and her teammates will, however, have to travel for their first round of the CIF NorCal Division II Football Championships.
Sanger will earn his season record 24-5-1 as the No. 8 seed against Placer County’s top seed Granite Bay (10-2-4) on Tuesday, March 1.
Ángel Cabral, in his first season as head coach, hopes the tough game against San Luis Obispo will prepare Sanger for the NorCal playoffs.
“San Luis Obispo is strong and they blocked our goal attempts,” said Cabral, who said his team was in the NorCal regionals to win.
“We play to win every game,” he said. “But, we are taking one game at a time. Tomorrow we resume our activities.
García said his goal “took a lot of weight off our shoulders”.
“Going 0-0 in the second half was very nerve-wracking,” she said.
The sectional championship came less than 24 hours after the boys at Sanger High lost a Division I title game 1-0 to visiting Reedley High.
“Seeing the guys lose unfortunately yesterday motivated us,” said García, who broadcast the boys’ game live. “We did this for them, but we want to show them that this is our city too.”
González, who has scored 37 goals this season, noticed Sanger’s change in momentum after García’s goal.
“We started to find openings in the defence,” said González, who accepted a pass from García and approached SLO goalkeeper Riley Wilkerson on the left side of the goal. González then slid his shot to the far right to seal the win.
“It was a great moment,” said González, who admitted some concern over a scoreless first half.
“We usually score in the first half, but they were getting tired and replacing a lot,” she said. “We knew in the second half that if we kept passing a goal was going to come.”
Cabral hopes to build on the sectional title, the first for Sanger’s women’s soccer team.
“The girls’ program is growing every year. We are getting better and better,” Cabral said. “Hopefully we continue as strong every year.”