Clovis North High’s Karlee Pottorff, Broncos coach Nick Pappanduros says, has a strong kick and free range.
Meaning: The sophomore has the green light to fire — from anywhere on the soccer field.
Sure enough, unfazed from 30 yards on the right wing, Pottorff drilled a cannon shot high and just off the hands of an accomplished goalie, Alyssa Ramos, in the 70th minute as second-seeded Clovis North edged No. 3 Central 1-0 Tuesday in the Central Section Division I semifinals.
“At that moment, I was just thinking about Maddie (Abbott) giving it off to me and going for the long shot,” said Pottorff, who had scored off a header Thursday in a 2-1 win over yet another fellow Tri-River Athletic Conference member, Clovis East, in the quarterfinals.
Ramos, one of the section’s elite goalies, extended high in the middle of the cage, but the ball deflected off her hands and behind her.
“I was just hoping the keeper wouldn’t be able to punch it out,” said Pottorff, part of a standout sister tandem with senior Kelsee Pottorff. “At first, I couldn’t believe it got us (the lead) again in a playoff. Then my teammates started celebrating. It was unbelievable.”
The win advanced the Broncos (16-4-6) into the D-I final at 11 a.m. Saturday at top-seeded and three-year reigning champion Buchanan (17-3-5), which rallied for a 3-2 victory over No. 4 Frontier.
Clovis North, which tied 0-0 and lost 1-0 to Buchanan in TRAC play, is seeking its first D-I girls soccer title a year after losing 2-1 as the top seed to No. 5 Bullard in the semifinals. The Broncos won D-III and D-II section titles in 2010 and ’11.
“This is the test we wanted,” Pappanduros said. “If you’re going to win the Valley championship, you want to meet Buchanan, which has been a dominant factor for the last 10 years.”
Three previous Clovis North-Central matches this season had resulted in two 0-0 ties and a 1-0 Broncos win on Alyssa Madrid’s penalty kick. The same situation 2 minutes into Tuesday’s duel on a 68-degree, sun-splashed day, had her PK snuffed by Ramos.
Central was denied late in the second half when Ashtyn Bracamonte’s 18-yard shot slammed off the right post.