The Mount Carmel girls soccer team is developing a flair for the dramatic, and it seems to be serving the Cubs just fine.
Mount Carmel junior midfielder Giselle Aguilera scored off a long run in the first overtime as the third-seeded Cubs earned a 1-0 Division I quarterfinal playoff victory over No. 6 East Ascension at Pan American Stadium on Monday.
“I just saw the opportunity,” Aguilera said of her 89th-minute goal, which capped a 50-yard run. “There weren’t many people back, so I just decided to take it down the middle. I was able to beat the defenders, and I got it in. It was very nerve racking. When I was in front of the goal, I just knew I had to make it.”
The District 6-I champion Cubs will host No. 10 Barbe, which upset St. Joseph’s 2-0, in the semifinals later this week.
After a scoreless first half, the Cubs controlled possession in the second half. Maddy Murret nearly gave Mount Carmel the lead in the 57th minute, but her shot was saved by East Ascension keeper Margaret Britton. Aguilera sent a shot over the crossbar three minutes later as the pressure continued.
In the 67th minute, Hope Hoffman sent a header over the crossbar off a corner as the Cubs continued to control possession but couldn’t score until overtime.
“We were playing not to lose the game,” Mount Carmel coach Pavlos Petrou said his team’s sluggish first half. “We were playing a little timid and holding back. I think we were worried about ‘what if they score?’ We just needed to go. We became more decisive. It told them that it would just take one, and Giselle made that crazy run.”
The District 5-I champion Spartans (19-3-3) controlled the opening 20 minutes of the match as the Cubs looked sluggish after the two-hour weather delay. The Cubs defense suffered through bad passes and poor clearances, which led to several Spartans chances, including a Blair Laiche shot over the crossbar.
The Cubs (19-1-7) seemed to shake off the sluggishness midway through the half as Aguilera’s shot over the crossbar highlighted several Mount Carmel chances, the best of which was a point-blank shot by Murret which was saved by Britton in the 28th minute.
The Spartans wasted a golden opportunity in the 37th minute as Laiche missed a wide open net after Cubs keeper Sam Bourgeois came out to save a ball but couldn’t control it. Laiche followed with another near-miss just before the half.
East Ascension coach Chris Goodall said his team’s near misses were critical.
“When you’re the No. 6 seed going into No. 3, we knew we just had to capitalize on our chances, and we didn’t,” he said. “It was even in the first half, but it was a 7-1 shot count in the second half, so by the end of regulation, we were just happy to get to overtime. I think the better team won, but I’m just so proud of girls tonight. I can’t ask for any more effort.”