By Jeremy Balan
SAN RAFAEL – The Bay Counties League West girls soccer championship had to come to an end at some point and University High School junior goalkeeper Karyll Davis played the role of game-ender against Urban on Friday at Marin Academy.
After a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation, two scoreless sudden-death overtime periods and seven rounds of penalty kicks, University junior Kristy Ketcham put the Red Devils ahead 7-6 in the eighth round and Davis stopped the final shot off the foot of Urban’s Emma McCune to seal the Red Devils’ second straight league title.
McCune sent the ball toward the low left-hand side of the net and Davis dove perfectly to her right to knock the ball away with her midsection.
“We’ve been practicing PKs a lot and my coach just told me to look at their hips to see where they’re going and just explode in that direction, and that’s what I did,” Davis said. “I knew it was sudden death and that was the time I had to make my mark”
The top-seeded Red Devils (15-4-4) clinched their seventh league title in eight years and wrapped up an undefeated league season, but early on, it looked like the second-seeded Blues would run away with their first BCL West title in school history.
Sophomore midfielder Thea Harvey-Brown scored both of the Blues’ goals, in the 12th and 18th minutes, to give Urban (13-2-2) an early 2-0 lead.
“Thea is one of the best student athletes I’ve ever worked with,” said Urban head coach Anthony Reyes. “She does a lot of the grunt work for us, that thankless work in the middle. She defends the best players in the league and it’s great for her, in the championship game, to get two goals like that. She’s earned it.”
The Red Devils cut the lead in half in the 32nd minute, when a strong shot from 25 yards out by senior Jamie Kerester was deflected by University junior Nicolette Symanovich and into the right side of the net.
University didn’t equalize until late in the tensely-played second half, in the 74th minute, when a corner kick from sophomore Rosie Warren on the right-hand wing found the head of Mikaela Symanovich, Nicolette’s younger sister.
Mikaela struck the ball with her forehead and sent it into the right side of the net for her team-high 16th goal of the season and locked the game up at 2-2. It was the only shot on net by either team in the second half.
“She’s been getting goals like that for us all year and she’s the one who works the hardest,” said University head coach Deejae Johnson. “We have girls that work hard, but she did everything to go out there and win that game.”
University controlled possession and opportunities in the second half and in both overtimes, and had several near misses, most notably in the final seconds of the second overtime.
Warren sent another corner kick into the penalty area, this time from the left-hand wing. Urban senior goalkeeper Lindsey Milgrom tipped the ball, and the ball caromed to Nicolette just feet away from the face of the net. The junior got her head on the ball, but lofted it just over the crossbar.
“Not much separates these two teams and there hasn’t been all year,” Johnson said. “It was just going to come down to guts, courage and fight, and Urban had a ton of it. We just had to keep plugging away. Urban played like champions. They just ran out of gas a little bit.”