By Zack Farmer
The Lowell High School girls soccer team was frustrated after its performance against Lincoln in the Academic Athletic Association semifinals and refocused coming into the championship game against Washington.
The Cardinals did not score in the first half against Lincoln, but scored twice in the first three minutes and six times in first the half en route to a 8-0 win over Washington on Saturday at Boxer Stadium to claim their 15th straight AAA title.
“Some of these girls will maybe go on to play in college, [but] most of them won’t,” said Lowell head coach Marcos Estebez. “This will be a memory that will have embedded in their minds for the rest of their lives. Every championship is nice and sweet, so I don’t think it’s anything you ever take for granted.”
Lowell (20-2-2) struck first when sophomore Mikela Waldman snuck behind the Washington defense and scored from five yards out. Less than a minute later, senior forward Alejandra Sanchez scored a one-on-one goal from the right side, giving Lowell a two-goal cushion.
“We all felt – not that we played bad against Lincoln – we just weren’t playing as great as we could have,” Sanchez said. “So our focus for this game was to come out strong and come out how we normally play and show what we can do.”
Lowell had 11 shots on goal in the first half, which mirrored Washington’s AAA semifinal game against Mission on Tuesday.
In the Mission game, Washington (11-3-3) was able to hold its ground and limit the Bears’ scoring, but that was not the case against Lowell
“For the girls, it’s difficult coming out onto a bigger field than we’re used to on grass,” said Washington head coach Charles Brinton. “Maybe that [led] them to being a little confused or struggling out there.”
In the 20th minute, Sanchez struck again as she dribbled past Washington goalkeeper Erika Lane and punched in her second goal of the game.
The Cardinals scored three more times in the half on goals from Adrienne Pierce, Kayla McCord, and Zoe Charter-Kuo.
“It was a shaky first half where we didn’t give it everything we had,” Brinton said. “The girls had nerves. They came out and they kept their heads up, and they kept fighting until the end.”
Unfortunately for Washington, Lowell did not put on the brakes in the second half and the Cardinals still had one goal remaining – a shutout.
Lowell had not allowed a goal in league play and that did not change Saturday.
“That was important for us, walking away with that record intact,” Estebez said. “That’s one of the things we talked about at halftime. It’s not necessary to score any more goals, but it’s necessary that we retain the shutout.”
Lowell also tacked on two more goals in the second half.
The first came from Pierce, her second of the game, in the 47th minute and the second came from Mitra Shokat in the 58th.