KINGSBURG - For the third straight season, the Kingsburg Vikings lose in the first round of the state playoffs.
In front of a rowdy home crowd, No. 4 Kingsburg were shutout by the No. 5 Miramonte Matadors in a 1-0 loss in the opening round of the CIF Northern Regional Division IV playoffs on Feb. 26.
“I told them ‘The reason why it hurts so much is because they care so much,” Vikings head coach Scott Hodges said. “It’s a blessing to coach these girls and I’m just very proud of them.”
The lone goal of the game was a second half score by Miramonte sophomore Angelina Basso in the 69th minute. Basso was inside the box when she received the assist from Matadors senior Isabel Fine.
Kingsburg had multiple chances to score, but came close on two plays that involved junior striker Marissa Montelongo.
In the first half, Montelongo dribbled the ball past multiple Miramonte defenders to set up a goal-scoring play. The play was set up for Vikings sophomore Shelby Reed to score. Reed ran in the middle of the box to kick the ball for the goal attempt, but Matadors’ goalkeeper Mikayla Smith knocked the ball out of bounds with her hands.
The Vikings other close attempt occurred in the second half when Montelongo tried to score on a header off a corner kick. Montelongo’s attempt was unsuccessful after the ball went over the net. Montelongo made contact with a Matadors’ player during the play, but no foul call was made.
Miramonte were called for nine fouls while Kingsburg had six.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way and that just what happens,” Vikings midfielder Emma Price said about the team’s scoring opportunities. “But you just have to keep working.”
In the first half, Kingsburg was called offsides twice on plays that possibly took away scoring opportunities for Montelongo and Taryn Irigoyen.
“It just didn’t go our way,” Vikings defender Peyton Woods said. “We had a lot of opportunities, but we just couldn’t [score.]”
Woods is one of five departing seniors that won’t return to the team next season.
The defender summarized her senior season as having “no regrets.”
“We put in all the work and it just didn’t go our way,” Woods said.
The Northern Regional game was the first state playoff match to end in regulation for the Vikings. In the two seasons prior, Kingsburg lost in the first round of the Southern Regional Division IV playoffs after falling short in a penalty kick shootout. Both penalty shootouts occured after a 1-1 tie at the end of overtime.
“Once you get to this point, all eight teams in the regionals, everybody is good,” Hodges said about state playoff games. “Last two years, we’re tied [in regulation and overtime] and we lost in PKs, this year it’s a 1-0 game, 0-0 for most the game.”
Kingsburg’s 2018-19 season ends at 22-5-1 overall that included an undefeated a 12-0 Central Sequoia League record. The Vikings earned its third-straight league championship after going undefeated in league play. Kingsburg has gone 32-0 in CSL play in the past three years.
The program’s most notable moment this year was winning its third Valley title after a 1-0 victory over Exeter in the Central Section Division IV Championship game on Feb. 22. It was the Vikings third-straight Section title win.
Kingsburg senior midfielder Kylee Silva, who missed most of the year with an ACL injury, said she’s has confidence that girls will be back in the state playoffs next season.
“If anything this loss makes them better,” Silva said. “Nobody likes losing on this team, I think don’t any team does, but I’m excited to watch them next season and see what happens.”
Silva was part of the past two Valley championship teams that lost in the first round of the state playoffs.
As far next year, Hodges said the process of a fourth-straight Valley title will begin “soon.”
“We’ll get back to work,” Hodges said. “These girls know how to work and it’s a good group to work with.”