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Wildcats fall to West Campus in section championship in soccer

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Last year the Whitney High girls soccer team found out what it was like to win a section title. This year they found out what it feels like to lose one. The Sac-Joaquin Section, Division IV soccer title came down to penalty kicks. And the Wildcats came out on the losing end. West Campus (22-1-1) and Whitney (17-3-2) played to a 1-1 tie through 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes on Saturday morning at Folsom High. Both teams then had five penalty kicks to decide the match and the section championship. West Campus made all five shots while Whitney made four. West Campus goalie Faviola Perez, a senior, made a terrific save on a penalty-kick attempt by Whitney senior Elizabeth Cogan. Cogan took the second of Whitney’s five shots. Whitney’s Morgan Edwards, MacKenzie Edwards, Ashley Jones and Elizabeth Grover each made a penalty kick. “I wish we could have just played until somebody scored,” said Jones, a senior, about the match being decided on penalty kicks. “With penalty kicks you never know (what might happen).” Whitney coach Rich Donofrio was proud of his Wildcats. “It was a great game – this is what it’s all about,” Donofrio said. “(Penalty kicks are) a high pressure situation and their keeper made a great save on one.” “We battled a lot of adversity this year . . . and for us to be here for a second year in a row . . . I’m not disappointed at all,” Donofrio said. “We knew (West Campus) would play with intensity and they did. They pressured us and defended well.” The first half was basically back-and-forth until West Campus scored with about two minutes left as Jena Mamola made a goal from directly in front of the Whitney net. “We had to pick our spirits up. It was about who wanted it more,” said Jones of Whitney’s mentality after West Campus went up 1-0. Whitney tied the match 1-1 with about 15 minutes remaining in the half. Grover set-up Anna Keithler with a nice pass and Keithler was fouled about a yard outside of the West Campus box. Jones took the direct kick for Whitney, scoring despite a wall of West Campus players standing between her and the goal. She booted the ball to the right, just by a West Campus player on the edge of the wall. “The wall (of players) was over to the left and I saw an opening on the right,” Jones said. Shortly after the goal, West Campus coach Rogelio Rubio received a yellow card for arguing about the foul that knocked Keithler to the turf. Whitney nearly scored with about 1:15 left in the second overtime as MacKenzie Edwards got off a shot after a Jones’ corner kick. Note: The bus that was supposed to drive the Whitney team to Folsom was late on Saturday morning. The team didn’t wait around, taking cars to the championship match.