The Varsity Girls Soccer team upset the #1 seed, Branson of Ross, on Saturday night in the NCS Finals in dramatic fashion. For the first time in Acalanes history, they are NCS Champions!
Branson got the ball first on the kick-off. From the onset, you could tell they were a very skilled team. Well coached, athletic, fast. By far the best team the Dons have faced all season.
At around the 25-minute mark in the first half, Ivy Souza was able to break free and found Addie Bailey in the center at the top of the goal box. A foul was committed on Addie by a Branson defender. Guess who takes the direct kick? That’s right, Tatum Zuber. Bangs it in for a goal!!! Dons take the lead at 1-0. Branson had several shots on goal, Kate Carter had some terrific saves, and our defensive line was gritty. Score at the half was 1-0.
More of the same in the second half. Branson had more shots on goal, the Dons were only able to get a couple of shots off. They had possession most of the time, but somehow the Dons were able to keep them contained. The Dons just wanted to hold onto their 1-0 lead with tenacious defense and running the clock down. But Branson was able to get a goal on a beautiful cross from their winger. The game was tied 1-1 with about 15 minutes remaining, and that would be the score at the end of regulation.
The game would go into two 10 minute, “golden goal” periods. Whichever team scores first is crowned the winner. The Dons came out fired up in the first 10 minute period. They were digging DEEP. They had a few great shots on goal but to no avail. Branson’s goalkeeper was legit.
The same went for the second OT. The Dons seemed to want this more than Branson. You could see it in the girls’ faces and in their hustle on the field. They were relentless. The end of the second OT comes, still 1-1. Now comes the Penalty Kicks…here we go…
Each team picks 5 players to perform a PK. After the first 5, if it’s still tied, the team picks another 5 players to perform a PK. If it’s still tied after that, then it is sudden death and the team can pick any player to perform a PK, even if they have kicked in the first round.
Branson won the toss and opted to kick first. After the first round of 5, it was tied 3-3. After the second round, it was still tied. Back and forth…some great saves by both goalies, some amazing shots and heartbreaking misses from both teams. And to top if off for some added drama, the stadium lights go out during PK’s!!! Jordan Pratt was able to make her sudden death PK, as well as her PK in the earlier round. Aliye Wingate and Tatum Zuber also made both of their PK’s. And with the ‘W’ on the line, as Branson had just missed their PK in sudden death, Olivia Parnell, who also made her previous PK, stepped up and calmly scored to give the Dons their first-ever NCS title! 14 PK’s were taken. Unheard of. Acalanes wins 10-9. It was an incredible game!
This game was truly a team effort. From top to bottom, every player contributed. Aliye Wingate, who was diagnosed with having the flu a couple of days before, had an incredible game. Chloe Quintella played the entire game at right-back as fellow teammate, Jacque Peacock, suffered a concussion during the Petaluma game and was unable to play. Chloe was amazing and was able to contain one of Branson’s best players.
Thank you to all of the families and friends that traveled to San Rafael High School to watch history being made! #donsshowup #donsfamily
Next up for the team is Northern California Regionals. The Dons are the #5 seed will play at Manteca High School against #4 on Tuesday, March 3rd at 6pm.