It almost seems like it’s too perfect to be true, but the Foothill girls soccer team promises it’s the case.
When Aqui Williams lined up Wednesday to take a free kick in the 80th minute, less than a yard outside the box, she was confident she would convert because her team practiced that very play the previous day.
She drilled it, and Foothill beat Green Valley 4-3 in a Desert Region quarterfinal at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex.
“I put the ball down and I’m like, ‘Freak, if I miss this … ’ so I have to put it in,” Williams said. “I was very stressed, but I’m super happy it ended up going in.”
Williams gave some credit for the goal to assistant coach Peter Stueberud. She said Stueberud wanted to work on it in practice, just in case.
“It happens throughout the season, so that’s the second one she scored,” Stueberud said. “She pulled it off at the right time.”
The game looked destined for overtime after Green Valley netted the game-tying goal a minute earlier. A corner kick with a minute to play bounced around in front of Foothill’s net until Jazlyn Camacho put it in.
The final minute was a culmination of an action-packed second half. Green Valley had 12 shots (seven on goal) in the half, and Foothill scored on all three of its shots on goal, including a penalty kick and Williams’ winner.
Arianna Vigil connected on two penalty kicks for the Falcons (11-4-3), giving them only one goal scored during the flow of play.
“I’ll take it any way I can get it,” Foothill coach Chem Simoneau said. “I think we had some really good chances tonight, we just weren’t able to finish.”
Green Valley’s Sydney Thomas started the scoring with a 19th-minute free kick from 25 yards out, then Foothill answered with the first of Vigil’s penalty kicks a minute later. It stayed that way until Vigil untied it in the 47th minute, and then Gabby Anderson added to the Foothill lead in the 65th.
Green Valley (8-6-6) fought back when Karina Gonzalez finished a two-on-one break on a feed from Camacho. The Gators tied it as the clock ticked down, but Williams sent the Falcons on to face Bishop Gorman (23-0) in Thursday’s semifinal.
“I almost like want to cry I’m so happy,” Simoneau said. “I’m so proud of my girls and how hard they work together.”