Silverado’s soccer team suffered one of its most lopsided losses of the season when it faced Foothill on Sept. 8.
The Skyhawks appeared doomed for the same fate in the first 15 minutes of the rematch Thursday.
But Silverado counter-attacked, grabbed the lead on two goals by Victoria Sanchez and weathered a storm of Foothill shots to escape with a 2-1 win over the Falcons in a Sunrise Region semifinal at Bettye Wilson Park.
Silverado (11-3-3) will face Coronado (17-1-2) for the region title at noon Saturday at Bettye Wilson. Coronado was a 2-0 winner over Green Valley behind two goals from Taylor Kornieck.
“We knew Foothill was a solid team, but we also knew we weren’t the same team that they saw the first time around,” Silverado coach Jenna Carter said. “We wanted to compete. We just wanted to leave everything on the field. The seniors didn’t want something like the last game to happen again.”
The Falcons (14-4-1) beat Silverado 8-1 early in the season and started well again Thursday, taking the first seven shots of the match and pulling ahead on 1-0 on Katherine Ballou’s 100th career goal, a 28-yard blast into the top of the net just six minutes in.
It was the only goal Foothill scored despite a 23-5 advantage in shots, including a 9-3 edge in shots on goal. Silverado’s Mikaila Becze made eight saves.
“Our defense stepped up tonight,” Carter said. “We typically don’t have to weather something like that. It was a challenge for them. It was the first time this season that we have been able to withstand something like that and be able to counter offensively.”
Silverado evened the match just less than 25 minutes in when Sanchez corraled a pass from Deanna Passerella and scored on an 18-yard shot in traffic. Foothill goalkeeper Darrien Sciafani got a piece of the ball, but it deflected inside the left post.
Just four minutes later, the Skyhawks’ Kristyn Lomasson stole the ball at midfield, and Victoria Bravo fed Sanchez up the right side for the 2-1 lead.
Foothill took the final two shots of the first half and the first 10 shots of the second half, including Myriah Epino’s poke from in close that Becze raced out to smother with 11 minutes left, but couldn’t score, and the Skyhawks hung on to advance to the region final for the first time since the winter 2009-10 season.
“It was huge to be able to stay in the game early and not repeatedly get hammered the way we did the first game,” Carter said. “To hold onto that lead in the second half was a little unbelievable for us tonight.”
Coronado 2, Green Valley 0 — Taylor Kornieck scored twice as the Cougars defeated the Gators (17-5-2) in the other semifinal.
“Taylor’s a playmaker, and the girls know that,” Coronado coach Dana Neel said. “She’s the energy to our team. Whether she’s on or off the ball, she’s making an impact on our players.
Katelyn Moxley passed the ball ahead to Kornieck, who beat Green Valley goalkeeper Kiyana Lopez to the ball and tapped it home for a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
Later in the first half, Angelica Morris moved the ball ahead to Kornieck, who controlled the ball, made a move around a defender and placed her shot just inside the far post for a 2-0 advantage.
The Gators weren’t able to mount much of an attack in the second half, managing just one shot.
“We played a better half the second half, better possession,” Neel said. “While the goals weren’t falling in the second half, the play definitely stepped up.”
Goalkeeper Shannon Heenan had two saves in the shutout for the Cougars, who are seeking a third consecutive Sunrise title.
“We’re excited. It’s where we planned to be,” Neel said. “We know if we just play our game and use the strengths that we have that we can finish it.”