Central beats Southwest in girls' soccer to clinch city title
Central Union High's Baylee Vincent advances down the field during a game against Southwest High in the El Centro City Championship game at Southwest in El Centro. (FERNANDO ACOSTA JR. PHOTO / February 9, 2013)
The Spartans were the defending champions and would go on to retain the crown, defeating the Eagles, 1-0.
“My girls played a good game,” first-year Southwest head coach Lluvia Montero said. “They played with a lot of heart, but Central has a great team and they deserved (the win).”
While the two schools may share a bitter rivalry, there was hardly any animosity between the opposing coaches, as Montero oversaw junior varsity under Ramon Lopez at Central several seasons ago.
“I was really happy to play against her,” stated Lopez. “I think she’s been a good asset to the Southwest family and will continue to improve the program over there.”
To say that Friday’s weather played a factor and weighed on the minds of all involved is an understatement. The Eagles, playing with the wind at their backs to start the game, had a penalty kick sail well high of the mark within the first minute of play, while the Spartans had a gale lift and turn the ball in the wrong direction on their first attempt at scoring.
So it went for the entire first half, with neither squad gaining an advantage over the other. It was only a matter of time, however, before the Central offense found a seam.
Scarcely five minutes into the second half, forward Baylee Vincent sneaked the ball past goalkeeper Alyssa Vingochea to tip the balance in Central’s favor.
Southwest was unable to rally, although Vingochea did stave off a nearly point-blank shot from Samantha Alvarado. Nine minutes later, the game was over and the foot-tall pewter trophy was presented to the victorious Spartans.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” said Vincent, who played on last season’s undefeated championship team. “We’ve gotten a lot better on our touches over the year and we’ve been working together, so it means a lot, to accomplish this. We wanted our seniors to have a good finish.”
The victory also means that the Central girls, having shut out main rival Brawley Union High 3-0 on Tuesday, are one game away from snaring the Imperial Valley League title. All they have to do is get past Calexico High, whom they will face on Tuesday for the Noujaim Cup.
“Almost every opponent we’ve faced,” said Lopez, “has left it all on the field. We still feel that we’re the team to beat, so everyone wants a piece of us. Tuesday’s game is going to be one of those that will come down to the last minute and we’re looking forward to it.”
Central (10-0-1 IVL) will host Calexico on Tuesday at 7 p.m., while Southwest (3-6-1 IVL) will host Brawley at the same time and day.