Arbor View’s girls soccer team looked like anything but a state champion in the first 20 minutes of Friday’s Division I state semifinal.
The Aggies were shaky at the start before dominating the final 60 minutes.
Taylor Gill and Lexy Epley scored early in the second half, and the Aggies defeated Galena 3-0 in the semifinals at Carson High School.
Arbor View (15-1-4) will meet Carson (13-3-4) in the final at 11 a.m. today.
“I think the travel got us a bit at first, but the moment didn’t,” Arbor View coach Jay Howard said. “Playing in a stadium, which we don’t do in Vegas, the announcer, all those things that make it a big event got to us a little bit. But we settled down and did well.
“I really felt like the last 20 minutes of the first half that the tide was starting to turn.”
About 12 minutes into the second half, Gill scored on a rebound when Galena goalkeeper Greer Sullivan deflected a shot that bounced right in front of Gill.
“Every single time we take a corner, I’m the one to stand outside, and finally one game it came back to me, and I just knew to hit it,” Gill said.
Two minutes later, Epley tapped in a loose ball in front of the goal.
“Their goalkeeper made some really nice saves today,” Howard said, “but once we got our feet under us, we really collectively attacked as a team, and that’s where you have all the bobbled balls and stuff in the box when you’re pushing forward.”
Bailee Davis added a goal on a free kick in the 57th minute.
From there, the Aggies were content to play keep-away. Goalkeeper Kylee Wallace faced just three shots.
“Especially in the second half, we did a good job of not letting the ball get in the defensive third,” Howard said.
In the other semifinal, Carson’s Mayra Oliveras scored 45 seconds into overtime to lead the Senators to a 2-1 win over Coronado.
“It was from (Kiahna Pimental) to (Josiyn Daggs) to me, and I just one-touched it in like a volley,” Oliveras said. “I’m still in shock.”
Coronado coach Dana Neel said her team coped well with the speed of Carson’s forwards, and the Cougars (15-2-4) won the majority of the battles at midfield but couldn’t translate that to the scoreboard.
“We outshot them, but you’ve got to be able to finish,” Neel said. “That happens in soccer, but you hope it doesn’t happen to you.”
Both teams scored during a frenetic first 10 minutes before the game settled down.
Kasey Ficklin tapped in a rebound in the fifth minute to put the Cougars up 1-0, but Oliveras answered in the 10th minute, an almost identical goal to her game winner after a rebound off a crossing pass from Daggs.
Brittany Klenzcar and Kristen Young scored to lead Pahrump Valley to a 2-0 win over Truckee in a semifinal at Dayton.
The defending state champion Trojans (18-0-2) will face South Tahoe in the final at 11 a.m. today.
Klenzcar scored off of a scramble in the 16th minute. Young added an insurance goal off of a feed from Sydney Sladek later in the half.
“A lot of the credit has to go to our defense,” Pahrump coach Pamela Larmouth said. “We had possession for about 80 percent of the game. It was a matter of us going at their nine (defenders).”
Kiaya Nauck made just two saves to claim the shutout.
“The girls generally play every game the same, no matter who the opponent is,” Larmouth said. “We’re not superstars who are just going to pull magic out of our hat if we get behind.”
In the other semifinal, Jennifer Burks scored twice in the first half, and South Tahoe held on, 2-1 over Faith Lutheran. Jamie McInelly converted a penalty kick in the final seconds for Faith (16-6-1).