ELK GROVE — In the first minute of its CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title game on Saturday, the Ponderosa High girls soccer were dealt a major setback.
Midfielder Corinne Tank, a team captain who scored the Bruins’ winning goal Wednesday, got tangled up with a Bella Vista player near Ponderosa’s bench and took a spill. Five minutes later she got up, OK, but holding her right arm as she exited the Cosumnes Oaks football stadium and headed to a hospital for a possible fracture, not to return.
Though Ponderosa rebounded with a goal to take a 1-0 lead, the Broncos tied and scored the go-ahead goal that stood for the narrow 2-1 win to grab the section title. The loss ended a great playoff run for the Bruins who finished with a 16-4-2 overall record.
“They’ve played through a lot of injuries this year; they’ve been phenomenal,” Ponderosa head coach Greg Spangler said. “We’ve had players with season-ending injuries. They’ve played as a team. They went out and did everything they could. But you got to give Bella Vista credit; they played well today.”
Bruin midfielder Erica Estes scored the team’s only goal in the seventh minute on a corner kick. Estes’ kick had plenty of height that curved into the net with an assist from forward Samantha Fowler.
“I felt amazing when I got that shot,” Estes said. “I read (Bella Vista goalkeeper Charlotte Garcia) her body language.”
Spangler added, “The keeper got a piece of it but it got in.”
Estes had two more corner kicks at the 20th and 38th minutes of the first half. But Garcia grabbed both shots as part of her three saves in the first half.
Seconds after Estes’ second corner kick, Bella Vista tied the game at 1-all when midfielder Sami Donovan booted an open shot from 20 yards.
The Broncos broke the tie in the 58th minute of the game when forward Chelsea Allen took a pass from a teammate and fired to the corner of the Bruins’ net.
Ponderosa and Bella Vista played a possession battle throughout the second half.
“They kept us chasing a bit (to the ball),” Spangler said.
In the final five minutes of the game, the Bruins had four chances to score, including two free kicks and a 35-yard shot from Estes. But Broncos goalie Shannon Fuchs pulled in two saves to secure the win.
“We had a couple of big surges, tried to get that equalizer,” Spangler said.
Estes added, “We kept our heads up after the game.”
Ponderosa goalies Allannah John and Jenna Hufford, who is headed to Cal Poly Pomona on a scholarship, combined for nine saves in the game.
Since 2003, the Bruins have played in seven D-II section title games, winning three titles.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.