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SUNSET REGION: Tuiofea’s goal lifts Palo Verde past Bishop Gorman

Sila Tuiofea scored the decisive goal in the 46th minute and the Palo Verde girls soccer team withstood a late push to beat Bishop Gorman 2-1 in Wednesday’s Sunset Region semifinal at Bettye Wilson Park.
“I knew it would be a close game. I just told them to come out hard and get it done quick,” Panthers coach Frank Messina said. “I knew if we prolonged this game into overtime, we could’ve been beaten.
“This team is very dynamic; they’ve always been a nail-biter with us. I’m elated to beat them. They’ve knocked us out of the playoffs the past two years, so to beat them twice this year is a statement for our program.”
Palo Verde’s Lauren Kaskie scored unassisted in the 32nd minute, but the Gaels responded five minutes later when Mia Moore found the back of the net.
The Panthers nearly went ahead a minute before halftime, but Tuiofea’s header glanced off the crossbar.
“We were looking to put the game away early and then work back and clean up the defense, keep the middle strong, move the ball around a little better than we did in the first half,” Tuiofea said. “We executed it well.”
Kaskie passed to Tuiofea for the deciding goal, which the junior forward buried inside the back post.
“(Messina) just said to make sure to keep your composure, keep playing as a team,” Tuiofea said.
Gorman put seven shots on goal in the second half, but Palo Verde goalie Stacie Gubler parried them all, finishing with nine saves.
“She’s a heck of a keeper. For a sophomore, I can’t ask for anything else,” Messina said. “She’s been outstanding this season. She’s had her shutouts — nine as a sophomore.
“I think even their goal against us — I had a feeling she called for it, but we made a mistake and she would’ve had the ball — it should’ve been another save.”
Arbor View 3, Centennial 0 — Falon Miller, Dakota Olson and Tara LeBaron each scored as Aggies defeated the Northwest League-rival Bulldogs in the other semifinal match.
LeBaron, Miller and Tori Dunn each had an assist for Arbor View, which fired 18 shots. Goalkeeper Alex Luevano-Harden made three saves for the shutout.

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