Jessica Lance put her head down and made an all-out dash toward the far side of the Lowell penalty area.
In a game where it appeared the first team to get a break would win, the Oakland Tech striker decided to make her own luck. Lance outraced a defender, chased down a loose ball and pushed a sliding first-touch shot past oncoming Cardinals goalkeeper Rachel Baskin and into the net in the 59th minute. It was the only goal in the Bulldogs’ 1-0 win and more than enough for the Bulldogs (12-7-3), who needed only a tie to clinch their first Transbay girls’ soccer championship in recent memory.
It was the end of a frustrating series for Lowell (18-5-1), which had won the title in each of the previous three seasons but was held scoreless in all three games this year. Despite the lack of offense, the Cardinals still could have won the championship with a victory Thursday and then a win in the subsequent shootout, but Lowell was unable to find the net.
“We just weren’t on today, which was unlucky for us,” Lowell senior Erica Wheeler-Dubin said. “We didn’t play with the urgency we needed. We weren’t … relentless enough.”
Wheeler-Dubin certainly showed the requisite passion, as the Academic Athletic Association’s Midfielder of the Year switched to center forward in the second half and was in the middle of nearly all of the Cardinals’ chances. She took nine of Lowell’s 13 shots in the game, including a blast from 20 yards out early in the second half that forced Tech goalie Marika Zumbro to make a sprawling save. Zumbro quickly pounced on the rebound before Alissa Goldberg could slot it home.
Wheeler-Dubin then just missed the far post on a partial breakaway moments before Lance’s goal and saw her header from point-blank range in the game’s final moments unluckily deflect off Zumbro’s head and out of trouble.
“Those were goodchances, but we could never really get into it,” Lowell coach Ernie Feibusch said. “They passed the ball beautifully, and we chased.”
Lowell also could never solve Zumbro, who played a central role in two Transbay titles for the Bulldogs this spring. Along with her three soccer shutouts, the junior was also the winning pitcher in both games of Tech’s softball sweep over Lowell and went 7-for-8 at the plate with eight RBIs.
“[Because of the softball] we knew she had great hand-eye coordination, but we just didn’t get our shots on the ground and make her dive,” Wheeler-Dubin said. “We made her look so good.”
(Oakland Tech wins best-of-three series 2-0-1)
GAME 1: Oakland Tech 2, Lowell 0
GAME 2: Lowell 0, Oakland Tech 0 (tie)
GAME 3: Oakland Tech 1, Lowell 0
OWNED BY OAKLAND
San Francisco teams won just one of the five Transbay titles this school year:
FOOTBALL: McClymonds (Oakland) 78, Lincoln 37
BOYS’ SOCCER: Mission def. Fremont (Oakland) 2-1
BASEBALL*: Skyline (Oakland) def. Lowell 2-1
SOFTBALL*: Oakland Tech def. Lowell 2-1
GIRLS’ SOCCER*: Oakland Tech def. Lowell 2-0-1
* Best-of-three series
Oakland Tech 1, Lowell 0
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