Catalina Villegas, Mia Castillo and the rest of the Clovis East High School girls soccer team simply weren’t going to let the most magical season in school history come to an end.
Villegas and Castillo combined on the go-ahead score in the 98th minute as the top-seeded Timberwolves overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat No. 9 Central 4-2 in overtime during the Central Section Division I quarterfinals.
Clovis East, the section’s only undefeated team at 18-0-3, will host No. 4 Frontier at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals. Frontier beat No. 5 Liberty-Bakersfield 2-1 on Friday.
The Timberwolves haven’t won a section girls soccer title in their 16-year history.
We knew our season was not over. This is only the beginning.
Catalina Villegas, who assisted on the go-ahead goal in Clovis East’s 4-2 overtime victory over Central in the Central Section Division I girls soccer quarterfinals
“We all really pushed ourselves at the end,” Villegas said. “We knew our season was not over. This is only the beginning. It proves how much heart we have, and how relentless we are. We work hard and we were prepared for overtime.”
Villegas, who had tied the score with a 30-yard laser in the 64th minute, delivered another heater with two minutes left in the second of two 10-minute overtime periods that Dominican University-bound goalkeeper Alyssa Ramos got her hands on, but couldn’t smother. The rebound trickled to the right, where Castillo pounced to knock in the goal.
“I knew Catalina would take the hard shot,” Castillo said. “I was hoping it would go in, but if not, I wanted that goal. I knew I needed to get something on it. I didn’t want to go to another overtime. I wanted to be the one to get it in.”
Central (10-10-6) took a 2-0 lead in the first 14 minutes on goals from Cal State Stanislaus-bound Ashtyn Bracamonte, who headed home a rebound off her own shot, and Megan Galvan, who knocked in a shot off Clovis East goalkeeper Danielle Cedillo.
Clovis East rallied before halftime, getting a goal from Carissa Wight on a shot that hit the left post and ricocheted off the right post and into the cage in the 36th minute, then got the equalizer in the 64th on Villegas’ long-distance shot from beyond the top of the box.
Catalina Phe capped the scoring just before the overtime-ending whistle sounded when she converted a deflection off a Wight shot.
I’m proud of them. I’ve never had a team with such belief that they can get it done.
Clovis East girls soccer coach Jasara Gillette, whose team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Central 4-2 in overtime during the Central Section Division I quarterfinals.
“The good thing about them is they have that belief,” Timberwolves coach Jasara Gillette said. “They’ve come back before. It’s never an option in their minds that they are done.
“I’m proud of them. I’ve never had a team with such belief that they can get it done.”
Central’s loss closes the books on the four-year careers of Ramos and Bracamonte. Ramos finished as the Grizzlies’ season (238) and career (551) saves leader, while Bracamonte ended with 40 goals and 19 assists.