Sacred Heart moves into the Central Coast Section Division III final while Scotts Valley’s strong season is over after the semi-final playoff loss.
The Falcons had advanced to the third round of the playoffs with a 3-0 win over Greenfield on February 26 and a hard-fought 1-0 win over Live Oak High School on March 1.
Scotts Valley finished the season with a 13-5-5 record, including 8-1-3 in league. The team took second in the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League behind Aptos High School.
“We started the season as underdogs, but in the end we really pulled through,” said senior captain Darby McFall. “I couldn’t be more proud of (our team).”
The Falcons playoff run was a surprise as the team battled through a season-ending knee injury to sophomore Emmy Koflanovich, the team’s leading scorer with 10 goals in 10 games.
In the first playoff game, the No. 7 seeded Falcons dropped No. 10 Greenfield behind goals from Brittany Cartee, Audrey Liebenberg and Serena Garcia.
The Falcons carried their hot play into a matchup with No. 2 Live Oak and sophomore Samantha Sion scored a first half goal, assisted by junior Taylor Raymond. Goal keeper Claire Covert made six saves for the shutout.
The Falcons advanced to the semifinal against 6th-seeded Sacred Heart, which had come off a 2-1 comeback win over Burlingame in the second round.
The Gators scored three first half goals by using a balanced attack that saw three different girls score goals in the 25th, 27th and 35th minutes.
“Our girls made good passes,” said head coach Armiro Arredondo. “We build up from the back going forward and we were able to get good looks.”
Arredondo said the Gators had scouted Scotts Valley and was aware of their speed on the attack, and the big throw-ins from Taylor Raymond that could result in scoring opportunities.
“Art (Munoz) does a great job with that group,” he said.
The Gators will play No. 1 seeded Menlo School in the final on Saturday, March 8.
Scotts Valley was unable to mount many scoring opportunities against the Gator’s stout back line, and took only two shots on goal all night. Senior goalkeeper Claire Covert made nine saves, including several acrobatic diving blocks.
Munoz was proud of the Falcons run.
“They are one of the better teams we have faced,” Munoz said of Sacred Heart. “In the second half we played a lot better.”
Munoz said the team was able to grow in confidence as the season went along, helped by senior captains Covert, McFall and Melinda Lane.
“I think they were the glue for the team,” Munoz said.
On the season, Koflanovich led the team with 10 goals, followed by Cartee with eight. Raymond had 18 assists, followed by Cartee with 10. Covert allowed 19 goals in 22 games and had 10 shut outs.