With the sun bearing down on her view, and the game tied 1-1 inside the final two minutes, Canyon’s Sara Johnston was just hoping to find a green jersey inside the penalty box to help break the deadlock against West Ranch.
Instead, she found the back of the net herself.
Johnston bent her corner from the left flank inside the right post to send Canyon to a 2-1 Foothill League victory on Friday afternoon at West Ranch. It was Canyon’s (8-5-2, 4-2 Foothill League) second win over the Wildcats this season.
“I was trying to hit it to the back post but I couldn’t see because the sun was in the way,” said Johnston, struggling to find the words to match her excitement. “I just kicked it and it curved and I’ve never done that before in my life. It was amazing.
“I don’t even know how to explain it. It was so unbelievable.”
West Ranch (8-7-1, 2-3-1) opened the scoring in the first half as Allyson Snyder finished off a one-timer for a goal. Less than eight minutes later, Jill Maglio tied things up with a goal of her own, with Claudia McKail recording the assist.
It looked as though West Ranch was going to take the lead after Emilie Cisneros nudged in a goal coming indirectly off a corner kick in the 49th minute. But the goal was waved off, with the referee’s ruling it a hand ball.
“Defending set pieces has been a weakness of ours all year and we had also let up a goal to them off a corner kick the first time we played them,” said West Ranch coach Jared White. “It’s a psychological thing with this group sometimes. They look up at the clock and see there’s not much time left and start to panic.”
West Ranch put four more shots on goal following the vacated goal. Canyon’s only shot on goal of the second half came on Johnston’s game-winning shot.
“I couldn’t let any of those shots get by because my teammates were giving me their full effort, so I wanted to give them mine,” said Canyon goalkeeper Aubrey McKessy. “(White) is a club coach for a lot of us, so it’s definitely fun to go up against them and, obviously, beat them.”
West Ranch was seeking its first winning streak of league play after beating Golden Valley 3-0 on Tuesday. The Cats have yet to lose two league games in a row, though. Canyon was coming off a 2-1 loss to Valencia.
“I’ve talked to all the coaches in league, and this season’s been one of the tightest we’ve seen in a while,” said Canyon coach Derek Rusk. “This game was just another example of how crazy it’s been.”
Canyon travels to Golden Valley (2-10-2, 0-6) Friday and West Ranch will travel to play Saugus.
Saugus 1, Valencia 0
Saugus (9-5-3, 2-2-2) avenged a tie against Valencia (7-5-4, 2-3-1) from the teams’ Foothill League opener when the Vikings scored in added time to knot things up.
Shaina Berdin scored off a penalty kick in the second half to give the Cents all the scoring they’d need. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Saugus and a two-game winning streak for Valencia.
The Vikings will play at Hart on Friday.
Hart 7, Golden Valley 0
Hart (13-5, 6-0) pushed its shutout streak to six games to open this year’s Foothill League slate.
Alyssa Irwin notched a hat trick and Izabel Reyes added two goals and two assists. Isabella Penaranda had three assists on the afternoon and Taylor Moorehead and Charlize Martinez (penalty kick) also had goals.