Espe saves Sacred Heart

Girls' soccer: Junior keeper comes off bench to stop three penalty kicks in second-round win.

February 23, 2011|By Grant Gordon,

ALISO VIEJO — When last the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy soccer team found itself in penalty kicks, the Tologs' CIF Southern Section playoff run came to a heartbreaking conclusion.

But on a cool Tuesday evening in Orange County, Lindsey Espe was the only Tologs player wiping away any tears. And they were most assuredly tears of joy.

Espe went from a spectator on the bench to an unlikely hero swarmed by euphoric teammates on the field, as she turned in one of the greatest clutch performances in Sacred Heart soccer lore, stopping three penalty kicks in a 0-0 (4-3) triumph for the Tologs over host Aliso Niguel in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.


"I honestly don't even know what to say, that was an incredible feeling," said Espe, who stopped Ashley McCutcheon's penalty kick attempt shortly after Tologs junior Tera Trujillo had converted her attempt to clinch a quarterfinal berth.

Sacred Heart (18-1-1), which advanced to the Division II semifinals last year before falling in penalty kicks on the road against Beckman, will now play on the road once more against Tesoro, a 4-0 winner over Newport Harbor. Against Beckman, the Tologs missed two PK attempts, as well. Thus, the only difference was the presence and play of Espe.

Espe, who lost her starting job late in the season after the Tologs' 4-3 Mission League loss to Harvard-Westlake, admitted it hasn't been the easiest season since then, making Wednesday's triumph all the more spectacular.

It began as the minutes ticked away in the second half of overtime. Espe was running in place on the sideline to keep warm as the temperature and night fell before Tologs co-Coach Frank Pace told her to start stretching and get ready should the game go to penalty kicks.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, here's my chance,'" she said. "I was so thankful he gave me the opportunity."

And so too were the Tologs.

"What can you say about Lindsey?" co-Coach Kathy Desmond said. "She came through."

With Sacred Heart's Jillian Jacobs having hit the crossbar on her team's first PK attempt, Espe took the momentum right back when she stopped a low shot to her left on the first attempt by Aliso Niguel (11-8-4).

La Canada Valley Sun Articles La Canada Valley Sun Articles