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La Cañada High girls' soccer marches to CIF semifinals

Soccer: Spartans collect 1-1 (7-6) road victory against Sage Hill in tense CIF Southern Section Division V match.

March 03, 2014|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • La Canada High's girls' soccer team defeated Sage Hills in penalty kicks on Monday.
La Canada High's girls' soccer team defeated… (Don Leach )

NEWPORT BEACH — Emma Tapp sat at midfield watching her teammates take penalty kicks with plenty at stake.

Through nine rounds, Tapp studied each shot with the possibility of being called upon to keep the championship aspirations of the La Cañada High girls' soccer team alive.

Then, La Cañada Coach Louie Bilowitz selected Tapp to take the next kick. It turned out to be a wise decision.

Tapp capped a wild 10-round penalty-kick session with a goal to lead third-seeded La Cañada to a 1-1(7-6) road victory against Sage Hill on Monday in a CIF Southern Section Division V quarterfinal match.

"I just figured it would be a great situation to score and help us win," said Tapp, a sophomore defender who lined a shot past Sage Hill goalkeeper Kekai Whitford. "Louie needed somebody and he asked me to take the penalty kick.

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"I've never been through this many rounds in penalty kicks before and it was pretty stressful having to watch it."

La Cañada, which captured the Rio Hondo League championship, improved to 21-0-1 and will meet host Hemet in a semifinal match at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Sage Hills finished 15-5-5.

Bilowitz had confidence that Tapp could convert on her opportunity.

"I knew she was ready," said Bilowitz, whose team opened the playoffs with home victories against Heritage Christian and California. "I had no idea what would happen [going into penalty kicks]. Some of them who I asked to shoot didn't want to go."

The Spartans also received a big effort from sophomore goalkeeper Kaitlyn Corral, who stopped a pair of penalty kicks after making six saves in 100 minutes.

In the penalty-kick session, the Lightning, which finished second in the Academy League, chose to shoot first. It took a 1-0 lead in the first round on a goal by Allie Mowery before La Cañada's Brianna Albarian knotted it at 1. Both teams didn't convert in the second round. Corral stoped Sage Hill's third attempt and Rosie Quezada scored to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead.

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