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La Cañada High girls' soccer a win away from first-ever CIF championship

Soccer: Spartans face St. Margaret's at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Corona High for CIF Southern Section Division V championship.

March 07, 2014|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • La Cañada High's Cassy Quiring (left) and Megan Decker (right) are hoping they and their teammates will celebrate one more time on Saturday morning. (Roger Wilson/File Photo)
La Cañada High's Cassy Quiring (left) and…

From a nerve-wracking marathon penalty-kick session to recording shutouts, it's been a dramatic and historic postseason run for the La Cañada High girls' soccer team.

Ultimately, it has been one that's landed the Spartans in the program's first CIF Southern Section championship match.

Third-seeded La Cañada (22-0-1) will look to top off its impressive playoff run when it meets St. Margaret's (11-10-6) in the Division V title match at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Corona High.

“My focus has been more on my players enjoying this experience,” said La Cañada Coach Louie Bilowitz, who has plenty of championship pedigree after he previously guided the school's boys' soccer team to three CIF titles from 1989-96. “It's created new memories for them and, 20 years from now, they can tell their children about this. This is a time where they've been very successful and they'll look back on it knowing they played at their best.

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“It's a special time for all 19 of these girls.”

The Spartans, who won the Rio Hondo League championship, have relied on a stingy defense throughout the season to hold their opponents at bay. They have yielded just 10 goals, including one in the postseason.

La Cañada, looking to become the first area girls' soccer team to win a CIF championship since Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy captured a Division I title in 2011, began the postseason with a 4-0 home win against Heritage Christian before earning a 2-0 victory against visiting California.

Things then got a bit hectic for the Spartans, who were slated to meet Sage Hill in a quarterfinal road match Feb. 28.

However, the contest was moved to Monday after rain flooded parts of the Sage Hill field. La Cañada then topped Sage Hill, 1-1(7-6) in a 10-round penalty-kick session before posting a 2-0 road victory against Hemet in a semifinal contest Tuesday.

“They've overcome a few obstacles, such as having to play games on consecutive days, but it's made them stronger,” said Bilowitz, whose team has posted 15 shutouts on the season.

The Spartans' backbone has been goalkeeper Kaitlyn Corral and a defensive unit that includes Natalie Ragusa, Simone Weinstein, Rosie Quezada, Katrina Davis, Olivia Leyva and Megan Reilly.

Bilowitz said Davis suffered a possible concussion against Sage Hill and it wasn't clear if she will participate in Saturday's match after missing the contest against Hemet.

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