Western wins the 2023 Girls Soccer City Championship!
In the PSL Girls Soccer Championship on Monday May 15th, the Western Cowboys faced off against the Cass Technicians in an instant classic. Coming into the championship, Western's record was 6-5-1 while Cass Tech's record was 13-1-0 with an undefeated record in the PSL. These teams faced off twice in the regular season with the Technicians getting the best of the Cowboys both times, but the City Championship was a different story.
Senior Darleen Lopez opened up the scoring for the game, giving the early lead to Western with a beautiful run from midfield. The Technicians began to make their presence known with some solid minutes of possession, but Lopez quickly went on another run for Western, putting in a beautiful goal, giving the Cowboys a 2-0 lead. Lopez, the captain, showed great leadership for Western as she was hungry for goals, almost scoring again shortly after with a header off a corner.
Cass remained resilient as they got on the scoreboard with a beautiful cross from a corner by freshman midfielder Zoe Haynes that found the head of their leading goal scorer, freshman Apple Felder, making it 2-1. This was Felder's 33rd goal of the season. Despite giving up a goal, Western continued to show its attacking prowess as they tried a long shot that was saved by the goalkeeper for Cass, Autumn Larry. However, the pressure continued as Evelyn Oliveras scored a goal to increase the Cowboys' lead to 3-1.
As the half came to a close, Cass Tech got a penalty, and sophomore Victoria Espinosa scored from the penalty spot to make the score 3-2 with four minutes left in the first half. That was not the end of the first-half drama. With 10 seconds left, Zoey Hanes tied the score to 3-3 for Cass with a free kick from outside the box heading into half-time.
As the second half got underway, Western won a penalty due to a handball from Cass inside the box. Rosana Tellez converted the penalty, giving Western a 4-3 lead. A couple of minutes later, Hanes scored another beautiful free kick from outside of the box, tying the score at 4-4.
The girls continued to go back and forth as #3 for Western scored, giving them a 5-4 lead in the championship game. Cass continued to fight and from another free kick, Hanes helped Cass tie the score at 5-5.
The teams were at a deadlock of 5-5 after full time and two periods of extra time, so the match went to penalties to decide who would be the 2023 PSL Champions. Western showed the heart of champions even as underdogs in this game as they won the penalty shootout 4-1, giving them their seventh Girls Soccer City Championship in a row, continuing their dominance.