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One goal is enough, twice, for Sunsets girls

One goal is enough again as Sunset wins its way to the Class 6A state quarterfinals
by: Miles Vance HERE IT COMES — Sunset’s Elly Williamson races past Century keeper Nicole Franklin to score on Saturday.

The Sunset girls soccer team may not be lighting up the scoreboard these days, but the Apollos are winning. And in the state playoffs, that's enough.

Sunset won its second straight Class 6A state playoff match by a 1-0 margin on Tuesday, ousting Sheldon from the playoffs just three days after doing the same to Century. Now, the Apollos (12-2-2 after a runner-up Metro League finish) advance to the state quarterfinals where they'll face Lakeridge at Lakeridge High School at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Pacers (9-5-1) finished second in the Three Rivers League.

Sunset 1, Sheldon 0

CEDAR MILL - For the second game in a row, the Apollos went deep into the second half before notching the winning goal.

And this time, it was Sunset's Emmy Owens who did the honors, taking a cross from senior teammate Mary Grace Roselli on the right side and driving the ball home with 12 minutes left in the contest.

'After dominating the play, it was a relief to finally get one in,' said Sunset coach Ben Durano.

While the Apollos scored just once, their defense was so solid that it almost didn't matter.

Our 'team defense was much improved since our last game,' Durano said. 'We really focused on maintaining better possession of the ball and showing more patience.'

Durano credited the efforts of defensive midfielders Claire Smith and Lindsey Kroon in winning balls, while up front, Williamson, Emmy Owens, Alicia Alarcon and Roselli were much more effective despite their team's modest scoring output.

'We're a bit beat up, (so we're) glad to have three days to prepare for Lakeridge,' Durano added. 'Lakeridge, I'm sure, is very aware of us beating them last year in the first round, and we expect a battle.'

Sunset 1, Century 0

CEDAR MILL - It's all about winning and advancing in the state playoffs, and Sunset did that on Saturday, though just barely.

The Apollos knocked off Century 1-0 at Sunset High School in the first round of the state playoffs, but did it by the slimmest of margins. Tied with the Jaguars at 0-0 for 77 minutes and 16 seconds, Sunset finally broke through to get the win in the final three minutes.

There, sophomore forward Elly Williamson collected a long pass outside the Century penalty box, split two Jaguar defenders and drove toward the goal. She then avoided charging keeper Nicole Franklin and raced the last five yards unimpeded to score at the left post.

'I saw the keeper coming out and I thought I could beat her,' Williamson said. 'The other time, I had that exact same opportunity and I missed so I thought I would beat her instead.'

'It was pretty stressful. I was starting to get a little nervous,' added sophomore defender Taylor Coon. 'We just need to work on finishing our chances up top.'

Indeed. The Apollos had plenty of other solid scoring chances, notable among them a Williamson penalty kick in the second half that Franklin saved, and in the first half, a point-blank Williamson shot set up by Payten Sonnen that Franklin raced out of goal to deflect.

Century, the fifth-place team from the Pacific Conference, finished its year at 6-10-0.

To see a complete photo gallery for this team, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.