2017-02-17 / Sports
Can you believe it?
Scorps, Spartans battle to wildfinish in wild card playoff game for the ages
Camarillo vs. Rio Mesa is always special.
The first playoff meeting between the high schools’ girls’ soccer teams was epic.
Camarillo, which blew a two-goal lead in the final two minutes of regulation, bounced back to defeat Rio Mesa 4-3 in overtime on Valentine’s Day in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 wild card showdown for the ages.
Daniella Helsdon, a senior captain for the Scorpions, blasted the game-winner nine minutes into the extra session.
“I knew I had to finish off the cross,” Helsdon said. “We had to win this game. We’ve been working for this the whole season.
A cross from senior midfielder Annika DeGenna bounced five times before Helsdon’s right boot connected for the deciding goal.
The Scorpions’ hearts were atwitter like Cupid, while the Spartans trudged off the pitch heartbroken.
“It’s a big victory for us,” Camarillo head coach Charles Fiacco said. “Both teams played very hard. They’re a great team. We happened to get this one. The balls bounced our way in that overtime period.”
DeGenna set up the cross by shaking the defender with brilliant moves.
“I saw that she kept battling,” the coach said of DeGenna. “She just wanted it slightly more than that other girl did. It was a fortunate cross. Daniella was in the right place at the right time to put it in.”
The Scorpions traveled to face Schurr of Montebello in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 playoffs on Thursday. A score was unavailable at press time.
Rio Mesa head coach Gonzalo Rodriguez said he was proud of his team’s efforts in the wild card.
Trailing 3-1, Spartan senior defender Sierra Gambala converted a penalty kick into a goal in the 79th minute. Sixty seconds later, junior forward Kelly Rodriguez chipped home the equalizer in stoppage time to hush the stunned Camarillo home crowd.
“We just had to stay together and keep fighting to try to get another one,” Rodriguez said. “We had momentum at the time. I was just hoping we could finish it. I felt we deserved it.”
Grajeda, who didn’t play high school soccer last year, said the loss hurt, but it was a day she’ll remember for a long time.
“I’ll always remember the love we had for each other and how we left it all out on the field,” she said.
Rodriguez, in his 17th season at the helm, said he’ll miss this special group, which included 15 returners from last year’s squad. Eight Rio Mesa seniors will graduate in the spring.
“My girls that are coming back know what to expect in this program,” Rodriguez said. “They exemplify what I want in this program. I ask a lot. I demand a lot, but I want them to be successful. I’m not going to allow them to accept anything lower than what they can do.”