Arbor View’s girls soccer team seemed to have enough chances to score 10 goals Thursday.
The Aggies peppered shot after shot toward Shadow Ridge’s goal, only to miss the frame or be turned away by the Mustangs’ shot-blocking defense and goalkeeper Jenna Gallagher.
Senior Haley Vicente finally ended the Aggies’ frustrations.
Vicente tucked a 26-yard free kick just under the crossbar and out of the reach of Gallagher with 8 minutes, 30 seconds to play to lift the Aggies to a 2-1 win over Shadow Ridge in a Sunset Region semifinal at Heritage Park. Arbor View (17-2-1) will face Palo Verde (14-3-4) in the region final at noon Saturday.
“For a while, it seemed like this might be a rough night,” Arbor View coach Jay Howard said. “It felt like we were in control of the game, and it just wasn’t going our way, but Haley stepped up.”
Arbor View controlled play after taking a 1-0 lead on Katelyn Laurente’s rebound goal 16:15 into the match.
For the next 35 minutes, the Mustangs had trouble just possessing the ball in the offensive half of the field. And Arbor View put pressure on the Mustangs, ripping off 10 first-half shots and picking up where they left off to start the second half.
“We were definitely shooting,” Howard said. “Shadow Ridge definitely kept the game in front of them. They were very hard to break down. We took shots. We just didn’t have a lot of good ones. It felt like they were all over the place.”
Shadow Ridge (12-6-3) finally found an opening to counterpunch.
Sasha Villa’s 30-yard free kick almost went into the net off the outstretched fingertips of Arbor View goalkeeper Haylee Niemann, but Joey Wright crashed the net and tipped in the rebound with 26:40 to play to tie the match.
It was just the fourth goal Arbor View has allowed since Sept. 7, a span of 15 matches.
“It’s the way we attack and the way we try to play on the other team’s half of the field,” Howard said. “We try to be super-aggressive.”
The goal gave the Mustangs momentum and sparked the defense, which tried to force the Aggies’ strikers to the outside and not give Arbor View good looks at the net.
Still, the Aggies’ runs resulted in shots and continued to put pressure on Gallagher, who finished with nine saves.
And Arbor View’s pressure resulted in a foul that give Vicente the free kick late in the match.
“Haley was on the varsity as a freshman, and the last two years she had (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries on her left knee and her right knee,” Howard said. “She really wants it out of all of the group.”
Palo Verde 4, Centennial 0 — Macee Barlow had two goals and an assist as the Panthers blanked the Bulldogs (15-9) in the other semifinal.
Palo Verde took advantage of its size to score on two set pieces to take a 2-0 lead. Jadyn Nogues and Mackenzie Nogues, the two tallest players on the field, each had a goal on a restart.
The first came when Mackenzie Nogues placed a long free kick into the goal mouth. Jadyn Nogues was able to get a touch on the ball, and it ticked off the inside of the post and went across the line for a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
In the 65th minute, Barlow placed a corner kick into the box where Mackenzie Nogues was able to head it to the near post for a 2-0 advantage.
Barlow added a goal on a follow after a shot hit the post in the 32nd minute to make it 3-0.
Barlow later took a pass from Jadyn Nogues, dribbled around the Centennial goalkeeper, and put a shot in the net with two minutes to play for the final margin.
Goalkeeper Jordan Goyeau had five saves in the shutout.