Vista claims soccer section title with 4-2 OT win over Cosumnes Oaks

By: Matt Long/Telegraph Sports Editor
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Soccer talent in Folsom is among the best in the Sacramento area, there is no doubting that. Vista del Lago?s varsity soccer team is proof of the depth of talent in the city. On Saturday the Eagles won their first girls? soccer Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title with a 4-2 overtime victory over Cosumnes Oaks, capping the season with a 15-2-2 record with one of those losses coming to Folsom, who also had a great season, reaching the Division I semifinals before losing to the eventual champion, St. Mary?s, 2-1 in overtime. For the Eagles to win a section title with only five players returning from last year?s team is remarkable. In simplest terms, that means six players either up from the junior varsity squad or new to the program started every game. Take into consideration that every team needs depth in the form of non-starters; it was nearly a complete overhaul from last year?s team that went 15-2-0. The five returning players: senior Dani Davis, juniors Shandy Nanomantube, Stephanie Clawson and MacKenzie Mercier and sophomore Dali Alarian played key roles in leading the Eagles to a section title. Four of the five players started in Saturday?s championship game and the only reason Davis didn?t is because she showed up just prior to the start of the game, as she returned to town from a trip. Mercier and Alarian were two of four goal scorers, including the game-winning goal coming off the foot of Alarian. Nanomantube played the entire game guarding the goal, while Clawson started on defense. Davis didn?t score, but was an integral part of the team?s offensive attack, as she?s one of the team?s skilled offensive players. Twenty-four minutes into the game, Vista opened the scoring on a goal by Brittany Fox, who took a ball from Mercier and broke in on the goalie one-on-one and easily put the ball in the low left corner of the net. Cosumnes Oaks tied the game seven minutes into the second half, but Vista reclaimed the lead with 15 minutes to play on a goal by Janae Gonzalez. Much like Fox?s goal, Gonzalez broke in on the keeper and scored with a low shot to the right corner of the net. Ten minutes later, however, the Wolfpack tied the score and the game went into overtime. ?We knew we had it in us and we just had to come back,? Alarian said. ?We knew we had made a few mistakes and we had to get it in our mind that we were going to win.? Alarian did her part to make it happen six minutes into the first overtime. With the keeper unable to control a shot by Mercier, the ball came to Alarian?s foot and all she had to do was kick it into a wide-open goal. ?My first thought was ?don?t miss,?? said Alarian, who let out a high-pitched scream following her goal. ?It was amazing to score it. That?s the goal I needed.? Mercier added another goal in the second overtime to secure the victory. ?The girls did a great job across the board,? said Vista coach Joe Esfandiary. ?We thought we had the game under control, but anything can happen in soccer and it did and the game ended up going to overtime. I just told the girls to play their game and put them away and they did. The girls worked very hard this year and just took it one game at a time. I?m glad that we won it.?