Bishop Gorman’s girls soccer team was being outpossessed, outshot and outplayed by Centennial in Tuesday’s Sunset Region title match.
But the Gaels took the only edge that mattered.
Charlotte Brascia scored a fast-break goal in the 63rd minute to help the Gaels top the Bulldogs 1-0 for their first Sunset title since 1999-2000.
Gorman advanced to its first Southern Nevada title match since the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association went to a two-team Southern Nevada championship in 2005-06.
“I had been working all game, and I knew that goal would be mine,” Brascia said. “There’s nothing better than scoring a goal like that, especially in such a big game.”
Brascia found space along the right sideline near midfield and sprinted toward goal, ripping a shot from nearly 30 yards out that flew inside the far post on the Gaels’ only second-half shot on goal.
Centennial outshot Gorman 10-3 after halftime, but the Bulldogs only put three shots on goal.
“I didn’t think it was going our way, at all,” Brascia said. “I knew that Haley (Wingender) and Mia (Moore) and my team were behind me; they had my back. I couldn’t let them down. I knew they wanted it so bad, and I wanted it more than anything.”
Both teams played to an even first half, combining for 12 shots and six on goal. But the Bulldogs pressured after the break, beginning in the 45th minute when Ciera Munoz put up a long shot that Gorman goalkeeper Angelica Pawlowski narrowly saved.
“In soccer, you can get dominated for 90 percent of the game, and the winner is the team that puts their chances away,” first-year Gorman coach Doug Borgel said. “They had chances. But we didn’t give them anything really easy; we held them to shots from the outside, and didn’t let their quick girls up top get in behind us. And as they kept pushing, it left them open to a counter. Charlotte had a great run, and great composure for a sophomore. We’ve been looking for that from her for a while, and she was huge today.”
Nikki Romero responded five minutes later, aiming a ball down the middle of the chute that Pawlowski easily saved. The junior who has committed to North Carolina put up three of the Bulldogs’ six shots on goal, but each one was parried by Pawlowski.
“She’s been huge through the postseason,” Borgel said. “She’s been solid, and hasn’t made any mistakes. She’s really picked us up when we’ve had those lapses in defense.
“It hurt us when Allie Arguello went out. She swept for us all year, so we’ve never had to find somebody else to play sweeper. But Izzie Sorrentino moved in, and Angelica had her back, and we tucked away our chance.”
Pawlowski had five shutouts during the regular season, only allowing 10 goals. The Gorman netminder has clamped down during the playoffs, allowing one goal in three games, against Shadow Ridge, Arbor View and Centennial.
“There were no real upsets on this side, so you had to go through the best teams,” Borgel said. “We knew to get to this point, we were going to have to beat the best that they had.”