KINGSBURG — For the second-straight season, the Kingsburg girls soccer team finished the year in heartbreak after losing in a 5-3 penalty kick shootout against Westminster High School in the quarterfinals of the CIF State Southern Regional Division IV playoffs on March 6.
It was Kingsburg’s second-straight season competing in the CIF State playoffs, which is the first two appearances in the history of the program. Heading into the matchup, the Vikings didn’t allow a score throughout its playoff run in the CIF Central Section Division IV postseason.
Before the penalty kick shootout occurred, both teams played through a sudden-death 15 minute overtime period after the game was tied 1-1. Both of the goals in regulation were penalty kicks as well.
“They gave everything that they have,” Kingsburg head coach Scott Hodges said of his team’s performance. “So it’s tough as a coach to watch them come up short.”
From the start of the game, the intensity was physical between the Vikings and Westminster and both teams struggled to move the ball near the net.
In the 29th minute, the first goal of the game came from Kingsburg midfielder Gianna Alves on a penalty kick that went down the middle after Lions’ goalkeeper Zaydee Solis misplayed it.
Three minutes later, the Lions scored on a penalty kick of their own after midfielder Sarah Rolston scored a goal for Westminster.
Hodges said the Lions were the best ball handling team the Vikings faced all season and the game plan coming into the game was set up to disrupt the Lions’ offensive ability.
“Our girls implemented the game plan perfectly,” Hodges said. “They played it just how we drew it up, we had our opportunities, and I thought we limited them on their opportunities.
“Every goal they scored was on a [penalty kick]. There’s not much else you could do on that.”
It was a similar outcome Kingsburg had when the girls traveled to Calabasas as No. 5 seed to take on four-seeded Viewpoint High School in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs last season. It was a game tied at 1-1 that went into overtime and the Vikings were defeated in a 6-5 penalty kick shootout.
Even though Kingsburg had a similar outcome against Westminster, the experience was different this year because the program hosted a state playoff game for the first time in its history as a No. 4 seed.
“There’s only a few teams around the state that are getting to host a state [playoff] game,” Hodges said. “For us to do that, it really was a blessing to see the school out here and community supporting our players. I really appreciated that a lot and so did the girls.”
It was great season for Hodges’ squad, the Vikings went on a 19-game winning streak to its second-straight Central Sequoia League and Valley championships. The girls finished the season with a 26-2-1 overall record and 10-0 in the CSL league. Kingsburg outscored opponents 100-9 throughout the year.
The majority of the team will return next season but will lose 10 seniors who made an impact on both ends of the field.
“The senior class is absolutely exceptional,” Hodges said. “They are incredible. We kind of built this program around those girls and we’re going to miss them terribly, but at the same time our program is set up to reload.”
“We got some young talent that’s going to step in, we’ll continue to build.”