TEMECULA – The Temecula Valley Golden Bears emerged victorious in an electrifying first-round CIF Southern Section match that ended after a heart-pounding double overtime battle against the Villa Park Spartans. The Division 1 girls’ soccer game concluded with the Golden Bears clinching a 5-4 win via penalty kicks.

The intense standoff at Temecula Valley High’s home turf drew spectators to the edge of their seats as regulation time and overtime failed to produce a winner. The spotlight shone brightly on players Anika Jost, Tatum Carillo, Cassidy Drago, Ashlyn Vaughn, and Bella Jost – Anika’s younger sister – who all netted critical goals when it mattered most. The pivotal moments came with Makenna August, the Golden Bears’ goalkeeper, made two crucial saves during the penalty shootout that had fans roaring in approval and relief.

Makenna August makes one of her two crucial saves in the goal box to keep Temecula Valley on top of Villa Park in their first-round matchup. Valley News/Time Stood Still Photography

“We are so proud of the entire team,” exclaims Temecula Valley head coach Jennifer Guinn. “From the bench to the field, all the girls were engaged and fully locked in. Villa Park really gave us a solid battle tonight, but the Bears showed up and really stayed focused even through the final kick. It was awesome to see their perseverance push through and ultimately be rewarded with a victory!”

Prior to this nail-biting encounter, Temecula Valley (13-4-6) had been riding high on the success of winning their seventh consecutive Southwestern League title, setting the stage for a playoff run brimming with confidence and skill. The victory sets the stage for the Golden Bears to continue their quest for glory as they are slated to go up against Torrance High School in what promises to be another exciting match. The Tartars went undefeated in the Pioneer League and beat Bishop Amat 7-0 in their first-round matchup.

Details regarding the location and time of the upcoming game are still pending, with an announcement expected soon for the contest on Saturday, Feb. 10. Brackets can be found online at www.cifss.org.

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JP Raineri

JP is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and head of the Sports Department for the Valley News. Over his time in the Temecula Valley, JP, a former Southwestern League head baseball coach, was also an on-air radio personality at Q103.3, KATY 101.3, Hot 103.9, and was a television host for the Outdoor Channel. When not covering local, or national sports, JP also serves as an Associate Baseball Scout with NSR.