SAN DIEGO — An historic season for the Marshall Fundamental girls’ soccer team ended Monday afternoon in San Diego.
Yet, the Eagles weren’t treated to a day at the beach.
Instead, Marshall fell victim to a three-goal first-half barrage from host Cathedral Catholic and lost, 5-0, in the first round of the CIF Southern California Regional Soccer Division II Championship playoffs.
The defeat capped an 18-5-3 season for the seventh-seeded Eagles, who only three days earlier clinched the program’s first-ever divisional title, knocking off Arroyo, 2-0, in the CIF Southern Section Division VII championship at Warren High in Downey.
“I told the girls that I wasn’t going to lie to them, this was going to be a real David-and-Goliath type of game,” Eagles Coach Esteban Villanueva said. “You know, we put so much effort and all our focus into winning a [CIF-SS] championship that it was tough to play today, especially against a very good Cathedral Catholic team.”
The Eagles, who also won their inaugural Delphic League crown this season, saw the match slip away over a three-minute spurt midway through the first half.
With the match scoreless, CIF San Diego Section Division III champion Cathedral Catholic (24-3-4) netted the match-winner on what was already the Dons’ eighth shot in the 18th minute. Dons’ senior forward Kelly Bieraugel took possession of a pass about five yards outside the 18 and lobbed the ball in between two defenders to teammate Jessica Bakan, who cleverly whipped the ball into the corner of the net for a score.
The impressive goal was followed by another Dons’ score; this led by Bakan, who lofted a corner kick that was banged home by wide-open teammate Courtney Brown in the 20th minute.
“They’re such a big, strong and fast team, we did as best as we could to hang on,” Villanueva said. “After they got that lead, I knew we were going to have a really tough game.”
Perhaps the dagger was delivered in the extra minute of first-half stoppage time accrued after Marshall’s Brittany Gutierrez was hit in the eye and left the field in the 27th minute.
With an extra two minutes, the Dons iced the match with a score from sophomore forward Shelby Cormier to go up 3-0 at the half.
“I look up at the scoreboard and I know that’s not a fair score,” said Marshall junior defender Jackie Jaquez, one of three Eagles who missed Monday’s affair due to injury. “We’re a better team than that score, but everything has to end.”
The total of injured Eagles player grew to five in the 55th minute when midfielder Erica Perez was hit hard on the nose, left the match and did not reenter.
Perez delivered the Eagles’ lone shot of the match, a legitimate scoring chance in the 33rd minute in which the freshman fired a 15-yard attempt that required a diving one-handed save from Dons goalie Hannan Macaulay.
Overall, the Eagles were outshot, 23-1.
Cathedral Catholic netted additional scores in the 47th and 79th minutes from Kelsey Irwin and Mattie Hegardt, respectively, to finish off the scoring.
Despite the final score, the goalkeeping duo of Ariel Martinez and Jocelyn Lopez combined for six saves, including a one-on-one stop from Martinez of junior forward Brittany Doan in the 37th minute.
“This was a great experience and this Marshall team might have been better than any club team I played for,” Eagles senior forward Rylee Page said. “I was proud to be a part of this team.”