By Graham Henderson
Sacred Heart Cathedral needed its best game of the season to stand a chance against West Catholic Athletic League foe Archbishop Mitty. And for a moment, the Fightin’ Irish were in position to pull off an upset on Mitty, but fell short 4-1.
Junior Christina Briesach got the Fightin’ Irish on the board first in the 19th minute, connecting with a well-placed corner kick from senior Kiera O’Shea for a picture-perfect goal.
“Kiera sent a corner in, I just ran on the post and first-touched it into the upper-right corner,” Briesach said. “It felt really good.”
But one goal wasn’t enough, as the Irish (2-10-1, 0-8-1) ultimately gave up four unanswered goals to the Monarchs (12-2-4, 7-1-3) on Saturday at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields.
Mitty’s equalizer came from senior midfielder Danielle Sanchez just 10 minutes later. Sanchez took a bouncing cross from Shelby Triantos, played it off her chest, and was able to sneak the ball past Fightin’ Irish goalkeeper Kate Mehl.
The goal was important for the Monarchs, who found themselves reeling slightly after falling behind early.
“It boosted up our confidence, and put more pressure on them,” Sanchez said.
Scoring an equalizer in the first half was important to keep the team focused, Mitty coach John Hanley said.
“Getting us back at 1-1 before halftime was huge,” he said. “I told the girls at halftime, ‘Just relax, the goals will come.’”
And the goals did come. Just five minutes into the second half, senior Kelsey Foo put Mitty ahead, taking a perfectly placed ball from senior Michaela Matulich and easily beating Mehl to score.
With the lead in hand, the Monarchs settled into a cool and controlled rhythm that they were able to keep up for the rest of the half, allowing Matulich and Triantos to add goals of their own.
Even as the game slipped away, the Fightin’ Irish held their form, and were even able to create a few scoring opportunities of their own.
Kristina Hernandez would have scored, but was ruled offside, and O’Shea — whose first corner kick had resulted in a goal — nearly created another opportunity in the last minutes of the game, but this corner kick sailed right into the hands of Mitty goalkeeper Lindsay Mewes.
Sacred Heart coach Matt Nuttall was happy with his team’s performance, especially the opening goal.
“We’ve struggled in the first half of a lot of games,” he said. “It was nice to see that they came out on the front foot right away.”
SH: 19th minute — Christina Briesach
M: 29th minute — Danielle Sanchez
M: 46th minute — Kelsey Foo
M: 55th minute — Michaela Matulich
M:73rd minute — Shelby Triantos