Lady Jaguars down Del Norte to clinch second place in Valley League
VC advances with first round CIF win over Point Loma
November 20, 2013The Valley Center varsity field hockey team roared into the playoffs with a clutch win over Del Norte to wrap up the regular season, then advanced with a close win over Point Loma in the first round of the post-season.
The Lady Jaguars headed into last Wednesday's matchup against the Lady Nighthawks expecting a tough battle after narrowly taking a 2–1 win the first time the teams squared off this season. Recent history also shows a consistent streak of one-goal games between the two schools, and the regular season finale proved to be no different.
The teams were deadlocked in a scoreless tie through regulation, but about three minutes into the overtime period, Valley Center's leading scorer Delaney Cummings found some open space on a corner and put the ball in the net for the game-winner.
The thrilling win gave the Lady Jags a final league record of 8–2, which proved to be good for second place.
It also earned them the No. 6 seed in the CIF Division II playoffs and a home game against Point Loma on Saturday.
Once again, the Lady Jaguars held strong through a scoreless tie in regulation and headed into overtime, this time with the season on the line against their No. 11-seeded foes.
The Valley Center defense held strong through Point Loma's scoring chances, keeping the ball out of the net and the game alive. Savanna Fiehler had a chance to put a goal away midway through the first overtime period, but the Lady Pointers denied that scoring chance, and the game headed to sudden death.
Nearly four minutes into the period, Madeline Stehly passed the ball to Fiehler, who took off down the field, covering 40 yards on the run before avenging her earlier miss with the game-winning goal.
Anchoring the defense was the goaltending duo of Bailey Gilmore and Bailey Sanders, who combined to get the shutout win and send the Lady Jags on to the second round.
Coach Rebecca Embrey reflected on the successes of the season after the game.
"We started with only five girls who had ever played varsity, but we had a lot of girls step up and work hard to get their play up to varsity level," she said. "We worked really well as a whole team with everyone doing their part instead of looking to one individual to do a majority of the work. We had returners who were willing to learn a new position and excelled tremendously at their new positions. This year more than in years past we had a lot of girls who were hungry to score. When we were inside our shooting circle we had a number of girls that were aggressive in trying to score a goal. We had very few games in which we were scoreless."
The second-round matchup has already taken place on Tuesday night at La Costa Canyon, and if the Lady Jaguars are able to get the win, they would advance to the semifinals on Thursday.