Kimberly Montoya and her Madera South teammates refused to be denied.
Not when her first shot was blocked and not with the school’s first girls soccer title on the line.
Montoya broke a scoreless tie in the 66th minute when she converted off a deflection, and Sophia Zertuche added an insurance goal in the closing minutes as the second-seeded Stallions downed No. 9 Central Valley Christian 2-0 on Friday in the Central Section Division II championship.
After a Jasmine Garibay cross, Montoya kept Madera South’s season alive when she blasted a shot that Cavaliers goalkeeper Erica Vander Wall got in front of, but couldn’t control. The rebound trickled to Montoya’s left and she followed with a low liner into the far left corner for the only goal the Stallions would need.
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“I followed through, pushed through and got it,” Montoya said. “What my team does is we go in the first five minutes to score, and it didn’t happen. But we set the goal that we were not going overtime, and we did it. I believed in our team. We’re a very talented group.”
Zertuche made sure CVC didn’t equalize when she hit a hard and high laser into the upper-left corner in the 77th minute for a 2-0 advantage. Madera South didn’t allow a CVC shot the rest of the way.
“We did whatever we could,” Zertuche said. “We weren’t satisfied with one. We had to get another (goal), and we did it as a team. We pushed all the way to the end and played our hearts out.”
Madera South was making its third trip to the section final in the program’s nine seasons after finishing as the D-III runner-up in 2010 and 2008, according to historian Bob Barnett.
The Stallions (19-4-3) will advance to the expanded CIF Southern California Regional, up to five divisions from three, as the Central Section’s automatic entry in Division II. Pairings will be announced March 8, with regional play beginning at host schools March 10.
“We wanted to make sure we got this,” Zertuche said. “Not just for each other, but for our school, community and for Madera. We were going all out.”
First-year Madera South coach Ramon Delgadillo said his main tactical switch after a scoreless first half was pushing the ball up the wings because the Stallions were having no luck going down the middle of the field against CVC’s taller defenders.
“It was a really intense game,” Delgadillo said. “My girls worked really hard for it.”
CVC (17-7-3) was making its first championship appearance in D-II — going through the Nos. 8, 1 and 5 seeds to get here — after capturing eight titles over three divisions during the past 11 seasons, including last year’s D-III crown. The Cavaliers were D-IV champs in 2011, 2010, 2008 and 2007, D-V champs in 2006 and 2005 and Sierra Division champs in 2004.
“There’s no shame in this game,” CVC coach Jacob DeGroot said. “It’s an accomplishment to get here in our first year in Division II. I’m proud of my girls.”