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Bulldog Times

CIF Quarter Finals: Varsity girls soccer bounces back

Varsity girls soccer bounces back to walk it off in overtime.
After+Mikayla+Benavidez+%2810%29+was+able+to+walk+it+off+for+Ayala%2C+players+swarmed+the+field+in+celebration+of+their+furthest+CIF+run+yet.
Avery Rosas
After Mikayla Benavidez (10) was able to walk it off for Ayala, players swarmed the field in celebration of their furthest CIF run yet.

In the early evening of Wednesday, February 14, varsity girls soccer prepared for what looked like just another 5:00 PM start time in a successful season—to our surprise, it was actually Round 3 of the Division 2 CIF tournament. After an exhilarating showdown against Rosary Academy that ended in penalties to end Round 2, they were locked into a matchup against Camarillo who sported an 11-4-1 (win-loss-tie) record through two rounds of CIF.

Just from how the teams were battling throughout the first half, it was clear that Camarillo was going to give Ayala a run for their money if they wanted to get past the third round. Drives towards Camarillo’s goal were squashed consistently and the same if not more was shown by Ayala in return. The communication and coordination that had already taken them so far seemed like it was finally being tested, and they all seemed to adjust along the way.

Ayala was able to secure a corner kick for Haylee Dean (10) near the end of the half—she able to set up a pass before Viviana Naranjo (12) got a chance at the net, a path well-taken as she knocked the ball in with her head before she incurred an injury herself. Luckily, she was able to get up by her own volition and continue playing.

For the rest of the game, the same back-and-forth affair left no time for parents to breathe; when one team wasn’t making shot attempts, the other one was. Telling by the score, none of them ended up amounting to anything. However, with only two minutes left in the second half, something happened that seemed to be resurfaced memories of last season. As a Camarillo player dribbled near the line, she teetered with what ended up seeming like an out of bounds play, but the sideline referee paid no mind to it.

Several small moments in the game led up to what was a successful effort from our girls soccer team. (Pictured: Haylee Dean (10)) (Avery Rosas)

As if it were destiny, that same play allowed Camarillo to spot a goal past the keeper and tie the game at 1-1 with only a minute left in the game. Despondent, Ayala ended the half, trying their hardest to lock back in after feeling disgustingly close to an on-schedule Round 3 victory.

A nightmarish memory surged in the minds of many when thinking back to last year, when Ayala was in this exact position—overtime, Round 3 of CIF—and lost in the second set of penalty kicks in what seemed to be a very promising season. Determined to not let history repeat itself, Isabella Contreras (12) hustled down the line, with a little flair, to get the ball back to Dean—with another assist, she got Mikalya Benavidez (10) to knock the winning goal in with her thinker to end the game.

The girls flocked to the opposing goal and crashed into each other while celebrating what is now their most successful season in recent memory. Despite the disservice done unto them by the referees at the last second, they showed their mettle and focus by getting right back into action in overtime.

Ayala’s going to face Quartz Hill tomorrow in CIF Semi-Finals for what will be their third matchup against them, the two before going far from Ayala’s way. Despite Quartz Hill’s astonishing 25-1 record going into tomorrow’s game, it feels like the only team that could stop them would be our girls varsity team this year. Either way, as it’s been said before, whether they win or lose, they’ve done more than enough to win the hearts of parents and students this year. We wish you the best of luck in Lancaster tomorrow.

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About the Contributor
Avery Rosas, Editor-in-Chief, Sports Editor
Avery Rosas (12) is the Editor-in-Chief and Sports Editor for the Bulldog Times. In his third and final year on staff, he hopes to grow the publication’s reach by diving deeper into the stories that make our school, and our students, unique. Avery is very culturally centered from his proud Mexican heritage and, as a result, is heavily involved in the World Language programs at the school. He hopes to influence others to become proud of their cultures while also respecting those of others. His immersion in his Mexican culture is seen in the altars he constructs for Dia de Los Muertos and heard in his never-ending Latino music playlists, his daily soundtrack consisting of anything from Natalia Lafourcade, Pedro Infante and Los Panchos to Romeo Santos, Caifanes and Los Angeles Azules.  However, his biggest passion, seen in his writing and known by those around him, is baseball; more specifically, his darling Los Angeles Dodgers. Baseball is the center of Avery's media consumption and his immersion in the sport has allowed him to meet people across the country who deepen his understanding of the game and generally just enrich his life. His proficiency in baseball and sports writing as a whole has allowed him to enjoy some of the proudest moments of his life, the biggest of which was ranking Excellent in Sports Writing during a trip to the JEA/NSPA competition and convention held in San Francisco in April 2023. This year, he's hoping to further improve his writing skills and reach Superior for his final high school competition. Despite this being his last year as an editor for the Bulldog Times, he hopes to impart his passion for the program onto his underclassmen staff members and show them the beauty of what the Bulldog Times can do for writers and collaborators during their high school years; he also took the liberty of  drastically surpassing the word count for his staff bio because it's his last year. Every moment, every article, every quote, and every word given to the Bulldog Times by Avery has been the legacy he hopes to leave to future student journalists and the higher standards he hopes to bring for the publication. And of course, he couldn't have done any of it without his mentor, advisor and friend, Ms. Eileen Tse, whom he will miss very much when he eventually leaves the Bulldog Times.  
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