By Rick LeBeau
In a close battle of two teams looking to reach their respective CIF division finals in late February, La Jolla and Carlsbad displayed play-off level intensity in a non-league match-up Friday at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex.
The game began and ended with both defenses playing at peak levels. The score was tied at the half, 1-1, but early in the second half La Jolla put home a couple of goals to take what appeared to be a commanding lead, given the defensive nature of the game.
Carlsbad countered with three goals to swing the momentum back to their side, leading 4-3 early in the 4th quarter.
La Jolla scored to tie, but the Lancers answered back to lead 5-4. With 2 minutes remaining, Victoria Frager scored from the outside to knot the game one final time.
Carlsbad gained a 6-5 power play advantage in the final minute, but La Jolla was able to disrupt the play and gain possession with 20 seconds remaining. After a timeout, La Jolla’s Sarah Young put a strong shot on goal that just caromed off the cross-bar, eluding the Carlsbad goalie.
The Vikings’ Ariel Arcidiacano picked up the loose ball and pushed it home with a mere 9 seconds remaining, giving La Jolla the victory, 6-5.
The Vikings appear to be peaking at the right time, heading into the CIF playoffs with a 5-game winning streak, including two against division rival Cathedral Catholic, their likely opponent in the Division III CIF semifinals. (Both teams would need to win their first two CIF matches in order to meet in the semis.)