WEST SACRAMENTO — The El Dorado Hills Sapphire soccer team saved the best for last in winning the Metro District Championship in its final match of the 2010 season.
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El Dorado Hills prevailed over a very determined rival, the Elk Grove Renegades, in a thrilling match that required 26 penalty kicks to resolve. The Sapphires earned their first tournament title of the season and reversed a loss to the Renegades in the final of the Bob Fowler Memorial Tournament in Concord in September.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of these girls,” head coach Kristy Galet said. “They played their hearts out, and to win like that in sudden death is something they’ll never forget.”
The Sappires earned their berth in the final with two wins and a draw in group play, defeating the Fair Oaks Magic and Eureka Aftershock. A draw in the final group game with the Elk Grove Illusion was enough to send the Sapphires to its fourth matchup with the Renegades. The teams had previously played to a 1-1-1 record.
The final match opened as a midfield struggle with neither team able to develop shots. Forward Emily Ochs entered the match in the 25th minute and quickly put two crisp shots on the Renegade net. El Dorado Hills gradually increased the pressure through the second half, eventually outshooting the Renegades 12-4.
Midfielder Ashleigh Ball led the Sapphires with four shots, winger Katie McIntee’s strike midway through the second half was just high and striker Olivia Reid and midfielders Hannah O’Donnell and Kayla Galet also had solid shots, but El Dorado Hills could not find the elusive goal. Keeper Teresa Greenhut earned her 18th clean sheet of the season playing behind lockdown defenders Haylee Janco and Erika Palmer. Kirsten McKeen and Jordan Bounds continued to probe for cracks in the Renegade back line, but to no avail. The match reached full time with no score.
In sudden death, Reid, O’Donnell, and Ball converted their penalty kicks, but the Renegades matched and the score stood at 3-3 after five rounds. Captain Sarah Sindel and defenders Haley Dean and Summer Santangelo found the net, yet the teams remained tied after 10 rounds 6-6. El Dorado Hills got a huge break when Sindel’s shot initially hit the crossbar, but came down off the Elk Grove keeper’s back and into the net.
After O’Donnell convereted El Dorado Hills’ 13th kick for a 7-6 lead the Renegades couldn’t answer and the Sapphires erupted in celebration.