Girls' Soccer: Sage feeling golden

Novotny's blast in overtime lifts Lightning to CIF Southern Section Division 5 quarterfinals.

February 26, 2014|By Barry Faulkner
(Courtesy of Dave…)

Just so her teachers know, a dog didn't eat Claire Novotny's homework. But in the event that the Sage Hill School sophomore comes up a little short in the classroom on Thursday, some would suggest she has an iron-clad alibi.

Novotny fired in a booming shot from 31 yards out into the upper corner of the net to lift the Lightning girls' soccer team to a 1-0 overtime victory over visiting Paloma Valley in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs on Wednesday.

"Oh my goodness!" said a charged up Novotny several moments after the goal, which broke a scoreless deadlock and halted the game in the seventh minute of the first of two possible 10-minute overtime periods. "I touched it back and it was the end. I just shot it, everything, it was just the end. [The shot] just went in and everyone was running at me and everyone was screaming. It was the best thing ever!"


Novotny, who had a game-winning goal earlier this season against Academy League rival St. Margaret's, was so excited, she punctuated her postgame comments at various points by jumping up and down and holding her fists to her cheeks, literally squeaking out her words in a high-pitched delivery reminiscent of the most over-the-moon Justin Bieber admirer.

Asked if she was going to be able to sleep Wednesday night, Novotny immediately thought of a more pressing concern.

"It's going to be really hard for me to do my homework, probably," Novotny said. "I don't know how I'm going to do it. With everyone running at me and hugging me, it was just like, yes!"

Several Lightning players expressed their celebratory joy with a similar lack of inhibition. And why not? They belong to the first Sage Hill team to reach the quarterfinals since 2006, said Megan Cid, an assistant coach who addressed postgame media after Coach Mike Hammond left promptly to deal with a club coaching commitment.

"These girls wanted to make the quarterfinals so bad," Cid said. "We haven't made it past the second round in ... I can't remember off the top of my head, but it was quite a while ago. I know we lost to Maranatha in that quarterfinal and that was the only quarterfinal appearance that I can remember. Since then, we've hung around the first round or wild-card area. I think a couple of years ago, we lost in the second round."

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