Lowell shut out Mission 8-0 in a San Francisco Section playoff opener indicative of the Cardinals’ decade of dominance in The City.
Erica Wheeler-Dubin netted four goals for the Cardinals (17-3), scoring in the opening minutes to set the tone for the game and getting her hat trick with a quick left-footed shot from inside the penalty box just before the close of the first half. Wheeler-Dubin scored her and Lowell’s second goal around the 13th minute on an assist from Mari Novak.
The Cardinals advance to Saturday’s 2 p.m. section championship at Boxer Stadium against the winner of today’s 4 p.m. semifinal between O’Connell and Washington.
Lupe Gamez-Zulema followed Wheeler-Dubin’s two early scores with a hard right foot in the 20th minute that found the net. Mari Novak notched her own goal in the 28th minute and Angelina Wedermeyer then put one in for the Cardinals on an Erica Wheeler-Dubin assist, all before Mission (8-7-2) took a shot on the Lowell goal.
Defensive control and toughness is the foundation of Lowell’s game, according to coach Ernie Feibusch, who said, “If we’re solid at the back, our goals will come by themselves.”
The Cardinals’ play and record reflects the discipline and work ethic of the both the players and coaches that represent the program, which has become the force to be reckoned with in San Francisco girls’ soccer. Since the formation of the girls’ program at Lowell in 1994, the Cardinals have won six Transbay titles and nine straight section championships. A section title this year would make it a perfect decade for Lowell.
Feibusch of course credits his players and their talent and work ethic and tries not to single out any one girl for exceptional praise, but admits Erica Wheeler-Dubin and her twin sister, Katie Wheeler-Dubin, have been major contributing factors to the Cardinals’ scoring in the second half of this season.
“As it happens,” Feibusch said, “at the end of the season, Erica stepped up. I’m probably going to get in trouble for saying that. … Really everybody scores.”
Lowell’s 4-3-3 lineup with a heavy backfield presence has served it well and the scoring distribution is diverse, keeping opponents on their toes, playing the entire field and recognizing the scoring threats that come from all directions.
“You adapt to the local situation,” Feibusch said of his strategy. “This has served us well, so why change it?”
Hannah Edelberg also scored in the second half.
Lowell 8, Mission 0