HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER PLAYOFF ROUNDUP : Outside Help Moves Canyon Into Semifinals, 3-2

The second time it happened, Canyon goalie Amber Pedersen thrust both fists toward the sky and grinned broadly.

She had a feeling someone up there was watching.

Twice in overtime, San Gorgonio had goals nullified because of infractions and the host Cowboys defeated the Spartans, 3-2, Thursday in a Southern Section Division III quarterfinal playoff match after 120 minutes of play and penalty kicks.

Kristi Giordano sent a low, left-footed shot into the corner of the net to give Canyon (14-7-2) a 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks.

"That felt so good," said Giordano, who admitted she could barely walk, let alone kick, by the time her turn to shoot came.

It was Canyon's second overtime victory this week. The Cowboys defeated Walnut, 3-2, on Tuesday.

"When it comes down to the wire and they're just about to die, they find that extra bit of energy," Canyon Coach Michele Braceros said.

Canyon tied the score, 2-2, on a goal by Cristie Burnett, the Cowboys' leading scorer, early in the second half.

The ball didn't find the net again until about five minutes into overtime, when Erin Leise of San Gorgonio (23-3-3) kicked into a wide-open goal after Pedersen fell. The goal was nullified when a linesman ruled a Canyon player was taken down before the shot.

Then about 10 minutes later, San Gorgonio's Manenda Pringle appeared to have scored on a cross but was ruled offside. Even the scoreboard, which changed to indicate the "Visitors" had a 3-2 lead, took a few moments to recover.

"It was . . . whatever you call it," Giordano said, gazing skyward.

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