Controversy clouded an otherwise competitive girls soccer match between Canyon High and Simi Valley High on Wednesday morning at Canyon High School as part of the Hart Soccer Showcase.
In a game that saw Simi Valley win 3-2 over the host team, a Pioneer shot that seemed to bounce straight down off of the crossbar before being scooped up by Canyon goalkeeper Aubrey McKessy was ruled a goal for the Pioneers and set off a 3-0 scoring run.
“I’ve never heard a referee change his mind once he’s made a decision on a goal,” said Canyon coach Derek Rusk. “All we could do was control our attitude and our effort.”
Trailing 3-1 in the second half due to a goal by Simi Valley in the opening seconds of the final frame, the Cowboys saw an opportunity to cut into the lead bounce off the crossbar in a way that mirrored the controversial call, but it was ruled a save instead.
Claudia McKail kept Canyon in the game in the 47th minute, nailing a penalty kick that ultimately set the final score.
The Cowboys’ aggressive attacks that ensued from McKail’s goal afforded them chances for the equalizing goal, including a shot in the 61st minute from Isa Rector, who scurried past all Simi Valley defenders and squared off against Pioneer goalkeeper Christie Silber, who made the save.
“We felt like we had an opportunity to beat them down the middle,” Rusk said in reference to his team’s attempts to tie the score. “We were able to create the opportunities, we just couldn’t finish them.”
Canyon set off the scoring in the opening minute of the match, when Rhiannon Coleman collected a rebound and sent the ball to the back of the net, giving the Cowboys an early 1-0 lead.
The score was knotted just two minutes later on the disputed goal. Both defenses held tight until Taylor Carnes put the Pioneers up 2-1 in the 27th minute.
Although the loss snapped Canyon’s two-game win streak, it provided a lesson that will help the Cowboys when league play begins.
“We have to stay mentally focused for the full game,” Rusk said. “We can’t give up opportunities in the backfield that the opposition shouldn’t have in the first place.”