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Gonzalez's goal lifts Kings over Raiders
Like most goal scorers, Kofa forward Brianna Gonzalez was in the right place at the right time. A millisecond later, she wasn't so lucky.
Gonzalez drove through the ball for the difference maker in the Kings' 1-0 win over Cibola Tuesday night, but her momentum sent her sailing into the right post, knocking the wind out of her.
“I just ran right through it,” Gonzalez said. “I didn't care if I hit the pole. I didn't care, I just finished it. I took one for the team pretty much.”
Her teammates surrounded her, jumping around and cheering while the sophomore was gasping for air.
“I couldn't breathe but I was excited at the same time,” she said with a smile after the game. “It was an adrenaline rush.”
Despite controlling most of the possession the entire game, Kofa had a hard time getting any shots off, let alone on frame. After Gonzalez's goal in the 54th minute, the Kings only had one more shot on goal.
“Defensively we knew our keeper was injured a bit so we wanted to avoid that major stress that she had against Kofa in the first game,” said Cibola coach Joel Ibarra. “She played hard and our defenders stepped it up and they did their job and unfortunately one got away and that's what makes the difference sometimes.”
The foul calls tilted in Kofa's favor most of the night, but the biggest controversy came in the 79th minute. After Kofa goal keeper Danielle Torres made a save on a direct kick, she dropped the ball, then picked it up again. The resulting play should have been an indirect free kick, but there was confusion on where to place the ball since the foul occurred directly on the goal line. This all happened with a running clock so by the time anyone could figure out what was going on, the game ended.
“The last 10 seconds doesn't have to dictate the game,” Ibarra said. “You have good days and bad days (with calls) but the game cannot be determined with how the ref was doing. The game was a hard fought game and Kofa had the opportunity with 20 minutes into the second half and took advantage.”
If the Kings beat Yuma High on Thursday, they have a chance to go 12-1 on the season. Unfortunately with the way things look right now, that still might not be enough to qualify for the state playoffs. As of Tuesday, Kofa sits at No. 21 in the state and No. 5 in its section. The top 16 in state and the top three in each section qualify.
“I guess we had to be perfect,” said Kofa coach Marisela Velasquez. “Unfortunately at this point we might get left out.
“I feel bad not just for us but for other Yuma-area schools. Can nobody from Yuma go? Cibola's a strong team and everything, we can't get one team in? I really don't know what I'm going to say to the players yet. It's tough. It's a tough situation.”
Tuesday's game was Cibola's last of the season, capping an 8-4 season for the Raiders.
“A victory today would have kept us alive mathematically,” Ibarra said. “We lost to Basha and Kofa the last two games of the season, and if that was the other way around we probably would have been in it. It's difficult, but all we have to do is cross our fingers and hope for the best. Hope teams lose up there and Yuma has a good game against these girls.”