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La Cañada High girls' soccer's perfect run ends in title match

Soccer: Penalty kick costs Spartans program's first title at Saturday afternoon's CIF Southern Section Division V championship against St. Margaret's.

March 08, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • La Cañada High soccer player Kristen Becker (right) consoles Katherine Sheehy after the Spartans lost, 1-0, in overtime in Saturday morning's CIF-SS Division V championship match versus St. Margaret's at Corona High on Saturday. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
La Cañada High soccer player Kristen Becker (right)…

CORONA — A handball call in the 97th minute within a second overtime session and a penalty-kick goal seconds later ended a perfect season for the La Cañada High girls’ soccer team by quite imperfect means.

St. Margaret’s senior defender Alexa Barbaresi converted a penalty kick into the far left of the net past a diving attempt by Spartans sophomore goalie Kaitlyn Corral in the 98th minute for the golden goal game-winner as the Tartans defeated La Cañada, 1-0, in overtime of the CIF Southern Section Division V championships at Corona High on Saturday afternoon.

“This is the first La Cañada team to ever go this far and I thought they did great,” Spartans Coach Louie Bilowitz said of his squad’s inaugural visit to a CIF title match. “We were not really on our game today, but there’s no question that I thought we had the possession today.

“We played a good game, we had our chances and we didn’t put them away and that’s soccer. I’m not going to blame a loss on the penalty kick. The loss came from [us having] a lot of opportunities to score and we either didn’t make the right run or we missed the ball. It just wasn’t our day.”

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The game, one that included few fouls and didn’t involve a card, turned for both teams when a Spartans defender was called for a handball inside the penalty area in the 97th minute.

St. Margaret’s (12-10-6), a wild-card team and third-place finisher from the Academy League, turned to Barbaresi, who had missed on two shots on goal stopped by Corral.

This time, though, Barbaresi fired a brilliant shot far post by the outstretched fingers of Corral, who correctly dove left, but just missed.

“I didn’t really see the call,” said Tartans Coach Johnny Marmelstein, whose squad picked up a controversial forfeit victory versus La Quinta en route to the title. “I thought maybe we had fouled. When I saw the official put his hands up (handball signal), I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ It’s going to end with our senior captain, with her ability to hit the game-winner, taking our last shot.”

Despite finishing with nine saves and leaping in the proper direction on the penalty kick, Corral was nearly inconsolable afterward.

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