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Palm Desert works overtime for girls' soccer playoff win against Mayfield

The Desert Sun (Palm Springs) logo The Desert Sun (Palm Springs) 5/13/2021 Shad Powers, Palm Springs Desert Sun
a group of people sitting around a baseball field: Palm Desert girls' soccer Chris Keuilian talks to his troops during halftime of Wednesday's 3-2 overtime playoff win over Mayfield (Pasadena). © Shad Powers/The Desert Sun Palm Desert girls' soccer Chris Keuilian talks to his troops during halftime of Wednesday's 3-2 overtime playoff win over Mayfield (Pasadena).

With Palm Desert's CIF-SS girls' soccer playoff game against Mayfield tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, Aztecs coach Chris Keuilian was explaining the playoff overtime format to his team.

"There are two 10-minute periods, but they're sudden death. So after we score this next goal, we can all just go ahead and run out there and celebrate," Keuilian said. 

The team followed the coach's instructions, perfectly. 

Eight minutes into the first overtime period, Megan Clapinski raced down the right side with the ball at her feet. As she got near the end line, she stopped on a dime, let the Mayfield defender go by, and centered the ball perfectly to a streaking Julia Dore, who blasted it past the visiting goalkeeper. 

Sure enough, the Aztecs ran onto the field in a flurry of high fives and hugs as they secured the 3-2 victory over the visitors from Pasadena and advanced to the second round of the Division 4 playoffs Friday. 

Clapinski said she could kind of visualize the game-winner as she was racing down the field. 

"I was just thinking get to the line and cross it into the middle. My club coach is always about that, and I knew Julia was going to be there to finish it," Clapinski said. "So I was just thinking about that and connecting with Julia, and it worked."

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To go with the game-winning assist, Clapinski also netted the Aztecs' first goal. She lifted a shot over the keeper's head that hit the right post where it meets the ground. The ball popped backwards back into the field, but had English on it like a billiards ball and spun back into the net before the keeper could react. 

That goal tied the game at 1-1 midway through the first half after Mayfield had connected on the first goal. That score was a 2-on-1 situation where Palm Desert goalkeeper Christelle Corchia made a great save on the first shot, but the rebound was knocked in the back of the net by Mayfield's Rhea Gerontides.

The game remained tied at halftime, and the Aztecs took the lead midway through the second half by scoring off a cornerkick. Reagan Van Horn found the loose ball and squeezed it between the cluster of feet and legs, and it bounced into the back of the net. She was sitting on the ground when the ball finally rolled in and she raised her arms in excitement. 

That excitement was short-lived, though, as Mayfield tied on a cornerkick of its own less than a minute later. This one was exactly how you draw it up, as the cornerkick went directly to the head of Charlotte Potter, who zipped it into the net. 

The Aztec defense with senior Ivana Gottwald in the back and second-half goalkeeper Parker LaMont kept Mayfield off the board the rest of the game, enabling Clapinski and Dore to make that winning connection. 

"When we play with passion, we can play with anybody," Keuilian said. "And I liked how we didn't drop our heads after getting behind or giving up that quick goal after we scored." 

Keuilian also pointed to the strength of the league, with Shadow Hills and Palm Springs also winning their playoff games Wednesday, as something that helps this time of year. 

"That fact that we're still playing and all three teams from the league are still playing shows what our league does for us getting us ready for games like this," Keuilian said. 


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The players agreed that this was the best team they beat this year, and along with beating a team like that comes a very valuable commodity this time of year. 

"Confidence," Clapinski said. "It's good for confidence because we've been kind of frustrated with not winning DEL, but finally got a win against a really good team and I think our confidence is just going to get higher now."

The Aztecs will go on the road Friday to face the No. 2-ranked team in Division 4, Valley Christian (Cerritos).

Palm Springs 4, Jurupa Hills 1: The Indians showed why they are the No. 3 team in Division 6, rolling to a first-round win at home. Palm Springs, who finished in a tie for second in the Desert Empire League, won its coin flip and will have another home game Friday. They will host Wiseburn DaVinci (El Segundo) at 5 p.m.

Desert Mirage 5, Rim of the World 2: The Rams made it look easy on the road against Rim of the World in their Division 6 first-round game. Amerie Felix had a huge night for the Rams with three goals and an assist in the win. To go with Felix's hat-trick, Yisel Ybarra and Lizbeth Reyes each netted goals. Ybarra had two assists, Reyes had one and Carina Rafael had the other. The Rams earned a home game Friday against Ganesha in the second round. 

Cathedral City 1, San Gorgonio 0: The Lions pulled out a road victory in this contest that went all the way to penalty kicks before it was decided. Both teams played to a 1-1 tie in regulation, In penalty kicks, Cathedral City made four of five shots, while San Gorgonio only made three of five. The Lions host The Archer School at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the second round of the Division 5 playoffs. 

Shad Powers covers sports for The Desert Sun. Reach him at shad.powers@desertsun.com.

CIF-SS playoff schedule

THURSDAY'S GAMES

Boys' soccer

D4: Riverside Poly at Desert Hot Springs, 3 p.m.

D4: Damien at Desert Mirage, 3 p.m.

D5: Rancho Mirage at Murrieta Valley, 7 p.m.

D5: Chino at Palm Springs, 5 p.m.

D7: Desert Christian Academy at Duarte, 5 p.m.

FRIDAY'S GAMES

Girls' soccer

D4: Shadow Hills at Santa Ynez, 3 p.m.

D4: Palm Desert at Valley Christian (Cerritos), 5 p.m.

D5: Sage Hill at Coachella Valley, 5 p.m.

D5: Archer School at Cathedral City, 3:30 p.m.

D6: Wiseburn Da Vinci at Palm Springs, 5 p.m.

D6: Ganesha at Desert Mirage, 5 p.m.

D7: Desert Hot Springs at Tarbut V'Torah, 4:30 p.m. at OC Great Park Stadium

Girls' tennis (3 p.m.)

D2: Long Beach Poly at Palm Desert

D5: Patriot at Twentynine Palms

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Palm Desert works overtime for girls' soccer playoff win against Mayfield

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