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“Dejamos la vida” Part Two!

11 March 2011 admin 3,194 views One Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

The St. Margaret’s Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team wins a CIF Championship and so much more.

By Johnny Marmelstein, Varsity Girls Head Soccer Coach, Grade 9 Dean and Upper School Physical Education Teacher

In 2006, senior captain Nicole Sady Kennedy shared with her varsity teammates a phrase used by soccer players from her native Argentina, “Dejamos la vida,” which means “leave your life on the field.” This expression was close to the heart of every member of the team and it helped lead the Tartans to the first CIF Championship for the girls’ varsity soccer team in St. Margaret’s history. History has a funny way of repeating itself!

This years’ version of the Tartans reawakened the spirit of “dejomos la vida” in the way they played the game with heart, determination, sacrifice and resolve throughout the season. And, there was no better venue to demonstrate their willingness to leave everything on the field than Mission Viejo High School last Friday, March 4, as the Tartans battled and defeated San Dimas 2-0 to win the first outright CIF Championship in school history!

From the opening whistle, St. Margaret’s dominated the Saints not only in every statistical way, but also in the spirit and enthusiasm with which they took the match to their opponents. The Tartan defense was absolutely stifling as they forced mistake after mistake from the Saints who struggled to keep possession of the ball throughout the match.

While the Tartans kept the Saints on their heels, they couldn’t manage to finish the many chances that were created offensively. Sophomore forward Regan Anderson came off the bench and made her presence felt almost immediately. Twenty-seven minutes into the match, freshman Alexa Barbaresi chased down a ball in the corner and sent a perfect cross in front of a streaking Anderson who hit a first time strike to the far post to score a spectacular goal and give St. Margaret’s a 1-0 lead going in to halftime. After the interval, the Tartans absorbed the early pressure by the Saints and were resolved to show their mettle. Slowly, St. Margaret’s began to impose their will on San Dimas and, in the sixtieth minute, freshman Maddy Glaser found sophomore Allie Frost on the left flank who cleverly and skillfully beat two Saint defenders and found the back of the net to put the match out of reach. For the rest of the match, the Tartan defense flexed their muscles and tightened around the Saint offense which managed only one shot on goal the entire second half.

The girls’ varsity soccer team had achieved an historic victory, however, there was still more work to be done. The Tartans were invited to participate in the CIF State Regional Tournament which matches up the CIF Champions and Runner-Ups from four different sections—Southern, Los Angeles, San Diego and Central to vie for the Southern California Regional Championship. After being seed number five, the Tartans traveled almost five hours to Visalia to play number four, Central Valley Christian, in the first round of the regional tournament. Not only were the Cavaliers unbeaten at home this season (13-0), they had never lost a regional playoff match on the home patch. The Tartans had lost their only appearance in the regional tournament back in 2008. Something was going to give in this match!

The Tartans battled the Cavaliers evenly throughout the first half. In the second half, the St. Margaret’s came out with emotion and fortitude withstanding a barrage by the home team and the cheers of a very partisan crowd! Their steadfastness paid off in the 49th minute as Katie Donahue’s pass found a streaking Maddy Glaser who put the Tartans up 1-0. St. Margaret’s and Central Valley Christian continued the back and forth affair until the dying seconds of regulation when the Tartans gave up a free kick just outside the box. Katelyn Von Meter struck a thunderous shot that goalkeeper Michelle Lancaster was unable to handle to knot the match at 1-1. There were just 75 seconds left in the game.

The Tartans were faced with a tremendous challenge, but in typical fashion, they were determined to show everyone that they were made of the right stuff. Five minutes in to the overtime period, Maddy Glaser got the ball to sophomore Allie Frost who beat three Cavalier defenders and hit a shot to the upper corner that their goalkeeper touched, but could not keep out of the goal to give the Tartans a 2-1 victory over the Cavaliers and send them into the history books! The goal was Frost’s second career, game winning goal in sudden death. Last season, Frost scored the game winning goal in overtime against Santa Paula in the CIF Quarterfinals.

All of these achievements could not have been possible without the talent, character and resolute nature of our team. And, the Tartans would need all of that and more as they would face the CIF Division 1 Champions Flintridge Sacred Heart in the semifinals of the state regional tournament. The Tologs, according to ESPN Rise Magazine, are the number one ranked high school team in the nation.

It had been over two months and 25 matches since the St. Margaret’s girls’ varsity soccer team has lost a match, but Flintridge Sacred Heart proved to be too strong as the Tartans fell 3-0 to the Tologs at Occidental College in the CIF State Regional Semifinals. The Tartans came out with a very dogged defensive mentality but the Tologs demonstrated why they were so highly rated as they kept the Tartans under pressure for most of the match. However, the Tologs did have a lot of trouble trying to figure out the Tartans low pressure defending strategy that kept them at bay for most of the match. Given the fact that the girls were physically exhausted and mentally drained, to see them fight for every ball and challenge every attack speaks volumes of the fighting spirit of these Tartans. True, there is never much to celebrate in a 3-0 loss, but inevitably class will surely tell and the Tologs scored three goals, two of which were the best high school goals I have seen all season long. If it was any consolation, the Tartans forced Flintridge Sacred Heart to keep all of their starters on the field and kept pressuring the hosts until the final whistle blew. Senior goalkeeper Michelle Lancaster had six saves in the match while junior defender Natalie Barbaresi earned the game ball.

The Tartans accomplishments were many this season:

  • The first St. Margaret’s girls’ soccer team to win their own tournament, the Tartan Soccer Shootout.
  • The first Tartan girls’ soccer team to win an outright CIF Championship.
  • Recorded the first win in the history of the soccer program in the Southern California Regional Championships.
  • They were the first team to beat Central Valley Christian on their home field and the first team outside of the Central Section to beat the Cavaliers on their field in the Southern California Regional Championships.
  • This team recorded the most wins in a season (26) for any St. Margaret’s soccer team.
  • This team had the longest consecutive unbeaten streak in Orange County (25 matches).

For anyone who came out to watch these girls play soccer, without a doubt, the legacy of Sady Kennedy’s words, “Dejamos la vida” lived on in the heart and spirit of the girls’ varsity soccer team! For our four graduating seniors who lived through three consecutive years with a loss in the semifinals, to go out with such style and class is an exclamation point on your fantastic soccer careers. For the rest of the team, we are returning nine starters and fifteen returning letter winners–can you say, “Repeat”?

Congratulations to the 2010-2011 St. Margaret’s girls’ varsity soccer team!

Read the OCRegister’s coverage of the CIF Championship.

Read more about the Tartan’s win on Patch.com.

Read more at the Daily Pilot.

Read more at The Capistrano Dispatch.

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One Comment »

  • Peg Beemer said:

    Fantastic season; congratulation to all players and coaches!!