Abad makes right choice

As the end of overtime approached and the possibility of penalty kicks seemed increasingly likely, Liz Abad decided to take a chance.

The Washington midfielder collected a loose ball 25 yards from the O’Connell net late in Thursday’s San Francisco Section girls’ soccer semifinal and instead of simply settling the ball for possession, she turned and ripped a right-footed volley toward the goal. And when the perfect shot tipped off the outstretched arms of Boilermakers’ goalie Maricruz Gonzalez and trickled into the net, Abad’s flier in the 94th minute had finally put Washington in front.

The Eagles (10-3-1) then held O’Connell off the scoreboard for the final six minutes, earning a 2-1 win and advancing to play top-seeded and nine-time defending champion Lowell in the section final, set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Boxer Stadium.

“I don’t remember what I was thinking — I just shot and hoped,” Abad said. “And then it was just excitement.”

Abad’s surprise strike capped a comeback win for Washington, which trailed 1-0 at halftime after freshman Korey Santillan’s goal in the 33rd minute gave O’Connell the lead. According to coach Charley Brinton, it was the first time the Eagles have won this year after falling behind.

“The girls knew there was a lot on the line today,” Brinton said. “This is a close team and the leaders stepped up.”

Washington’s comeback began psychologically with a halftime pep talk from a number of players and showed up on the scoreboard when Madeline Armour tied the score 1-1 in the 58th minute. The forward had twice come within inches of scoring early in the second half, but finally found the net after gathering an O’Connell goal kick, weaving through the defense and drilling a right-footed shot home.

“I was getting a little bit frustrated but just kept working hard,” Armour said. “And we got it back and came through in the end and that’s all that matters.”

Both teams had multiple opportunities to score in an entertaining, end-to-end game. A typical sequence came in the first 10-minute overtime session, when Santillan’s cross from the right side just missed sneaking in at the far post and Armour took the ensuing goal kick down the field and slid a shot just wide.

Benny Kau made six saves in the win for Washington, which is looking forward to the opportunity to face Lowell.

“We have to be aggressive and go into the game thinking we’re just as good as them,” Abad said. “We’re going to take it to them on Saturday.”

Washington 2, O’Connell 1 (OT)

SAN FRANCISCO SECTION

SEMIFINALS

Wednesday: Lowell 8, Mission 0

Thursday: Washington 2, O’Connell 1 (OT)

CHAMPIONSHIP

Saturday: Lowell vs. Washington, 2 p.m. (Boxer Stadium)

melliser@examiner.com

Other Sportssports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

District Attorney Chesa Boudin announces charges against former SFPD Officer Christopher Samoyoa in the 2017 fatal shooting of Keita O’Neill at a press conference outside the Hall of Justice on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
DA Boudin charges fired SFPD officer with manslaughter over fatal shooting

Ex-Officer Christopher Samayoa to face criminal charges in killing of Keita O’Neil

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, during a news conference on March 10, 2020. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
LA County suspends outdoor dining at restaurants as coronavirus surges

By Alex Wigglesworth Los Angeles Times Los Angeles County public health officials… Continue reading

Renderings of the main entrance to upcoming Mission Bay elementary school on Owens Street. (Courtesy photo)
SFUSD offers first look at planned Mission Bay elementary school

San Francisco school officials this month unveiled the design of a planned… Continue reading

James Coleman (Courtesy Morgan McCarthy)
Young progressive set to shake up South City

The 21-year-old is the newest Councilmember for District 4

Arturo Mendez, co-curator of the Mission Arts Performance Project, invites artists of all types to participate in the free-wheeling community program. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Mission Arts Performance Project could be poised for a comeback

Before the pandemic, the Mission Arts Performance Project, the roving multimedia art… Continue reading

Most Read