One moment of competitive excellence by Caroline Mikkelson was enough to lift the San Marcos High girls’ soccer team to a CIF Southern Section Division 5 Championship.
The Royals got the goal they needed to break a scoreless tie midway through the second half and defeat Paraclete 1-0 on Friday night at Warkentin Stadium. The victory gives the program its first CIF title since 2006.
“Just like every game in the playoffs it takes one individual to create that chance. Caroline Mikkelson has come up big for us before and that was her moment,” said San Marcos coach Brian Ziegenhagen. “I told everybody to capture that moment.”
A corner kick by Rebecca Rodriguez in the 61st minute found its way through the swarm of bodies at the net and to the feet of Caroline Mikkelson, who calmly put it away with her right foot.
Before that fateful set piece San Marcos had trouble solving Paraclete goalkeeper Abree Fry despite applying consistent pressure and creating numerous shots on goal.
“It was a super awkward goal. It just bounced off my side and then it was right in front of me, and I passed it right in,” Mikkelson said. “It was so surreal. I was like did that just happen. My brain didn’t process it.”
The Royals had a chance to take the lead in the closing moments of the first half when Sofia Orozco broke free of the Paraclete back line and sent a right-footed shot towards goal. Fry got a fingertip on the ball to send it just wide of the post.
“I took a touch in front of the goal, and I wanted to shoot it right at the far end, but she got a hand on it and I knew I should of kicked it with a little more power,” Orozco said. “We just kept pushing. We always wanted to win, and we got what we wanted.”
San Marcos improved to 15-0 with the victory after winning three games total the past two seasons.