One team may have saved its season while the other let a league championship slip out of its grasp in the final regular season game of the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division season.
The visiting Carlmont High School girls’ soccer team upset San Mateo High School 1-0 on Thursday, knocking the Bearcats (9-4-1 PAL Bay) out of first place while giving the Scots (6-5-3) an outside chance at gaining a Central Coast Section playoff berth as the division’s fifth-place team.
The Bearcats’ loss allowed Aragon, on the strength of a 4-0 road win over Terra Nova, to claim the PAL Bay Division championship. But San Mateo can finish no worse than third, pending the outcome of today’s game between Woodside and Burlingame — washed out by Thursday’s rain — and is guaranteed a berth in the CCS playoffs.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to make CCS,” San Mateo coach Daire O’Connor said. “We’re a little disappointed with today’s results, but very happy with the season.”
The team had the rare opportunity to capture the Bay Division title one season after winning the Ocean Division championship, but Carlmont came into the game looking to stay ahead of Menlo-Atherton and hope to earn an at-large bid into the section playoffs.
Jillian Quan gave the Scots that opportunity with a brilliant goal in the 14th minute, breaking out of a pack of Bearcats defenders and beating San Mateo keeper Karyn Jacobs one-on-one for the only score of the game.
Carlmont appeared to have made it 2-0 just before halftime on a Torika Ramillo shot, but a hand-ball call nullified the goal.
“It’s been a very frustrating season for us,” Carlmont coach Tina Doss said. “We’ve had some outcomes that should have gone the other way. But no matter what, we were going to come out and play today.”
The Scots dominated the opening half and appeared to be the quicker — and hungrier — team throughout. A fact not lost on O’Connor.
“They came out strong from the start and got that goal on us early,” O’Connor said. “They were the first to the ball, faster and stronger in the first half too. We addressed that at halftime and played better.”
San Mateo had two point-blank shots on net in the second half, but both sailed over the net and the Scots defense put in a strong effort and made Quan’s goal stand up.
San Mateo left the pitch having to now set aside the disappointing loss and get ready for the playoffs.
“They’ve come so far,” O’Connor said. “We just need to regroup, stay positive and enjoy playing in the CCS tournament.”
But while the Bearcats know for certain they have more soccer yet to play, the Scots must now wait and see if their late-season run of eight points in the final four matches was enough to earn them a chance to make the playoffs.
“I hope so,” Doss said. “It’s the CCS’ choice to make.”