For the first time in school history, the Lady Lions from Linfield Christian High School secured a CIF Southern Section title Saturday, Feb. 29, on their home field. In a game that was knotted at two goals apiece, sophomore Dani Williams buried a free kick nine minutes into overtime to complete a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over visiting Santa Clara High School and claim the programs first ever CIF-SS Division 7 championship.
“It’s just an amazing feeling,” Williams said. “I had no idea that we would come this far, let alone win the whole thing.”
When the Lady Lions were awarded the free kick, head coach Angela Hernandez said she had no doubts about sending the sophomore to the spot.
“I had all the confidence in the world for her,” Hernandez said. “This is what we prepared them for, and she came through.”
Santa Clara’s Yamilet Ordaz drilled a free kick from 35 yards out early in the game and forced Linfield Christian to have to play from behind, but the Lady Lions regrouped when Faith Hastey scored 15 minutes into the second half. The goal was short-lived though as a minute later, Bella Garcia collected a loose ball in the box for Santa Clara and blasted into the net to put the Saints up 2-1.
With under 10 minutes to play, and trailing by a goal, Linfield Christian fought back to tie the game in the 75th minute of play when Alexis Jones snuck in a shot past the keeper from the end line. When Williams sealed the deal in overtime for Linfield Christian, the packed home stands erupted in cheers.
Linfield Christian will move on to the CIF State Regional Quarterfinals this week against No. 6 seed, Arvin High School.
JP Raineri can be reached via email at email@example.com.