Goalie comes back to save Gaels

Kaylee Vitale left the soccer field at Bettye Wilson Park in tears twice Thursday.

The second time, though, was a much better feeling.

The Bishop Gorman freshman goalkeeper, pulled with her team trailing Palo Verde 2-0 in a Sunset Region semifinal, re-entered and made two huge saves after the game went to a penalty-kick shootout tied at 2.

The Gaels (15-2) needed those saves to edge two-time defending Southern Nevada champion Palo Verde (14-3-2) 4-2 on penalty kicks and move into Monday’s regional championship against Centennial.

“I don’t even know how to explain it, it’s just so amazing,” Vitale said. “When I came out, I thought it was over.”

Vitale stopped two of the Panthers’ four penalty kicks on dives to her left, slapping each away with both hands.

“They gave it to me because they looked one way, and usually when a girl does that, she goes the other way,” Vitale said.

The second save left Gorman with a 3-2 lead in the shootout heading into the fifth kick.

When Mariah Hobbs buried the ball low on the right side, Gorman’s 4-2 edge was insurmountable.

Vitale was replaced by senior Alee Zaher with 30 minutes left in the second half. Zaher made three saves in the remainder of regulation and the two 15-minute overtimes, but Gorman spent most of the second half on the attack.

“We just went with experience,” Gorman coach Nick Arbelaez said. “We felt it was the right time to do it. It was do or die at that point.”

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead on goals by Lauren Dudley late in the first half and Alyssa Kleiner four minutes into the second half.

Hobbs trimmed the lead to 2-1 midway through the second half when she stepped around a defender to score.

Palo Verde nearly took a 3-1 lead, but Zaher upended Victoria Nguyen, who was breaking in alone. The Panthers protested for a foul, which would have led to a penalty shot.

Hobbs tied the match with 11 minutes left in regulation when she broke in alone on the left side.

Centennial 3, Arbor View 0 — Bethanie Skelton scored two goals for Centennial (16-0-3), and goalkeeper Jenna Riddle kept the Aggies (13-3-3) at bay, making eight saves.

Arbor View controlled much of the first half before Skelton scored in the final three minutes.

Sophie Krauza headed in Riley Bassett’s corner kick 12 minutes into the second half to make the score 2-0.

Skelton tapped in a centering pass from Ashley Mosley late in the game.

SUNRISE REGION

Rancho’s Jahmela Muhammad and Zakiya Bywaters scored in the 37th minute as the Rams (13-2-2) defeated Coronado 2-1 in the Sunrise Region semifinals at Bettye Wilson Park.

“That last five minutes (of the first half) was more our style of play,” Rams coach Sarah France said. “Quick play, playing to our forwards.”

In the second half, the Cougars charged at the Rams, maintaining possession for much of the half, but couldn’t score.

The Cougars (19-4) were forced to be on the offensive throughout the second half, after Muhammad and Bywaters scored in succession late in the first half. Coronado’s Karissa Heppe scored midway through the first half.

Then Rancho goalie Yvette Cordero took control, turning away shot after shot.

“They were coming at us,” France said. “Our defense was doing what defenders do — getting it out of there constantly.”

The Rams will play Green Valley (18-1) for the Sunrise title at 4 p.m. Monday.

Green Valley 5, Silverado 0 — Freshman Kayla Varner had two goals and an assist to lead the Gators over the Skyhawks (10-7-1).

Ali Schaefer, Liz Billington and Jessie Cahill each added goals for Green Valley.

“All of us are very unselfish, and we all want to give each other a chance to score,” Varner said. “We’ve had that pretty good all year.”

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