Woodcreek wins its first section title in girls soccer
ELK GROVE — One by one, a few minutes apart as the clock ticked toward the final horn, they left the field at Cosumnes Oaks High School, each to a standing ovation: Kristin Womack, Rachel Dortch, Lauren Hayano and Emily Chalfant.
The four Woodcreek seniors are signed to play collegiately on scholarship next school year, and they left a permanent stamp on what soon will be their alma mater by taking leading roles in a 4-0 pasting of Del Oro in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship match Saturday night.
It was Woodcreek’s first section title in girls soccer.
“Amazing. Oh my gosh,” said Hayano, who took a pass from senior Mika Samoy and pumped in her team-leading 11th goal in the 24th minute to give the Timberwolves (13-2-7) a 2-0 lead. “That was the driving factor for the game. All four years we’ve been here we’ve never made it to playoffs. We always wanted a banner so, so bad.”
The Sierra Foothill League rivals played to 1-1 and 0-0 ties in the regular season, but Del Oro (9-1-7) won the league crown. The Golden Eagles, however, couldn’t stop the Timberwolves in a battle for a section crown.
Dortch scored on a corner kick, “Right over the keeper’s head,” she said, as Woodcreek drew first blood.
“That was big time,” said Dortch, who had two goals and an assist. “We had to come out strong, score first. That’s what we did, put the game away right there.”
Hayano said Woodcreek’s confidence level “went up immensely” after the second goal, “and theirs really decreased a lot.”
Dortch’s second goal came with about two minutes remaining in the first half. It was a free kick from 25 yards out. She put a low ground ball — a designed shot — into the corner to the goalie’s right side.
“They had a bad wall, a very bad wall,” Dortch said.
Chalfant said of the 3-0 lead: “I was so happy; so much relief on the defense.”
Speaking of defense, it was the 10th shutout for sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Rushing and the 15th shutout for Woodcreek, which allowed seven goals all season.
About three minutes after taking a point-blank rocket in the gut, Womack scored the final goal on a designed header off another Dortch corner kick in the 58th minute.
Woodcreek coach Mark Bowman watched his team celebrate while holding the folded blue section banner in his left hand. He noted the talent of his Timberwolves and the various pitfalls and lulls that come with a lengthy season.
“It was just one of those things where … trying to get it together through the year,” he said. “They were able to bring it up in the end.
“Winning the SFL is important, but this is butter right here buddy. This is great. I can’t even tell you. Emotional. Big time.”