St. Lucy's High's girls soccer team took a 257-mile, 41/2-hour bus ride from Glendora to Clovis on Tuesday, played 2 hours and 20 minutes in absolutely miserable conditions at Lamonica Stadium, and left smiling.
"Good experience; a fun day," Regents goalkeeper Heather Seman said, meaning it.
Such was the reward of upsetting fourth-seeded Clovis North 1-0 on penalty kicks in the first round of the Division II Southern California Regional.
A late afternoon match played throughout in near-30 mph winds, dropping the temperature to 40 degrees with the wind-chill factor by its conclusion, saw St. Lucy's (19-10-2) make 3-of-4 penalty kicks following a scoreless, 15-minute sudden death overtime.
The Broncos (23-4-1) made 1-of-4 penalty kicks, rendering meaningless each team's normal allotment of five attempts. So they weren't even tried.
"It was a long bus ride, but we had some stops in between, so it really didn't affect us at all," Regents senior Sarah Flores said. "Everybody was in good spirits."
That certainly was the case when her blast inside the right post gave the all-girls private school from the Southern Section a 3-1 lead in penalty kicks.
St. Lucy's also had received successful shots by Kristen Damon and Victoria Camaj against Clovis North goalie Stephanie Hoffman.
When the Broncos' Kendall Crews followed Flores' goal by firing up, right and out of the cage, it was over as St. Lucy's team sprinted en masse toward Seman in the stadium's east goal.
She had smothered the Broncos' first penalty kick by Kelsey Stilwell.
"Heather had a great game; she stayed composed," Regents coach Andy Plascencia said. "And our whole backline was awesome. I was really proud of my girls staying together. There were times they could have crumbled under the pressure."
The winds, howling from west to east, helped take both teams out of their offenses in a match offering few scoring threats.
"It was tough on both teams keeping possession because of the wind blowing so hard," said coach Nick Pappanduros of Central Section D-II champion Clovis North. "There was just really never any momentum for either side. It was difficult, that's for sure."
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