In a stunning upset, the Foothill girls varsity soccer team's Cinderella season ended Saturday night.
San Ramon Valley High School clinched its fourth consecutive North Coast Section 3A (NCS) title (a record) when it beat the Lady Falcons in sudden death overtime, 4-3, at Dublin High School. The loss leaves Foothill's record at a still impressive 21-1, 14-0 in East Bay Athletic League play. All season, the team only allowed five goals from opponents.
Through most of the game, the lead was maintained by Foothill, with Carlee Payne's score bringing the lead to 3-1. But San Ramon brought the game back to a tie. A score by San Ramon's Grace Leer took the game into overtime and Foothill's season was finished when the Wolves' Allie Begin scored the winning goal.
Foothill coach Ron Lambert said while he's proud of his team's accomplishments, he can't shake the feeling from Saturday's game that they got robbed.
Lambert said a goal the team scored early on was taken away by the referee and time was added to the play clock toward the end of the game with no explanation, allowing SRV's comeback.
It was deja vu for Lambert, who said something similar happened during last year's NCS playoffs against SRV.
"The referee never stopped the clock, but for some reason, he added time on the clock," Lambert said. "On videos from the game, you can even hear the fans counting down five, four, three, two, one and the game is still going on. It was like a momentum shift."
Lambert said after the game ended, the referee left without answering questions and was booed by fans, which he said he didn't approve of, but couldn't control.
"I'm still trying to pinch myself over what happened," Lambert said. "We dominated the game hands-down, from start to regulation finish."
Lambert added that he's not trying to take away from San Ramon's win.
"I'm not discrediting San Ramon," he said. "They played hard. The referees are there to keep the game intact, not to take it away from anybody. That's my opinion; they're going to have a different opinion and so are fans."
Twelve players on the team will now be participating in Pleasanton Rage soccer club play and will move on to college in the fall. Lambert said while the loss will sting for a while, he is still very proud of the team.
"They had a hell of a year," he said. "We won league, which hasn't been done since '93, '94. It really was a dream team."