Green Valley firepower finally overcomes Coronado

Green Valley’s girls soccer team found itself in unfamiliar territory, trailing Coronado 1-0 at halftime Saturday at Heritage Park.

Instead of folding, Green Valley turned up the pressure.

The Gators fired 14 second-half shots, and Paulina Buskas’ tiebreaking goal with six minutes remaining lifted Green Valley to a 2-1 victory for the Division I Sunrise Region title.

“They knew what they needed to do,” Gators coach Roy Snyder said. “We really haven’t been behind this season, so it was a good test of their character and their heart. And it definitely showed every bit of what they’re made of.”

Coronado goalkeeper Melanie Frank did her best to hang onto the lead, making seven second-half saves. But the relentless pressure was finally too much, and the Gators (17-0-1) evened the score when Nicole Westover dropped a pass to Kayla Anderson, who hit a left-footed shot past Frank with 12 minutes to play.

Westover normally captains the defense for Green Valley, but Snyder moved his senior leader to forward to start the second half.

“We moved Nicole up top to give us an additional attacker and she’s such a great leader and she’s a great player,” Snyder said. “Usually she does it from behind, but in this case she helped create some more opportunities for us. We finally put one away, and I think that just gave us a whole new life.”

On the go-ahead goal, Buskas was there to clean up a rebound after Frank saved Anderson’s shot from the right wing, and the Gators held on.

Coronado (11-6-2) scored in the 18th minute when Kathleen Cuevas put home a rebound after a header caromed off the crossbar.

Green Valley advances to this week’s state tournament. Coronado plays Centennial (15-3) at 6 p.m. Monday at Faith Lutheran for the final berth at state.

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.

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