La Jolla High School Vikings 1, Coronado High School Islanders 1
By Ed Piper
The La Jolla Lady Vikings rode a Maddie Ittner goal in the second half to a 1-1 draw with visiting Coronado High School Islanders on Senior Day to end the 2014 season at Edwards Stadium Feb. 20.
With the Vikings trailing Coronado 1-0 at halftime, Ittner, a senior outside midfielder, followed up a loose ball after a collision between teammate Emma McAll-Delgado and an Islander in front of the Coronado goal. The diminutive Ittner, one of six seniors at their last home game, kicked the ball in from the right end of the goal.
The tying goal came only 3:33 into the second half, after Vikings coach Kristen Jones urged her charges at halftime, “Be positive, be confident, and don’t give up.”
Coronado’s goal came with 7:27 left in the first half on a floater by Abigail Callahan that sailed well above Viking goalie Lucia Macagno’s reach into the net.
“I knew that we needed the goal,” said Ittner. “I saw the goalie hit it out. I knew I had to get it in, because I wanted to win so badly.” This was preceded by Viking forward Phoebe Riley, the team’s leading scorer, bringing the ball up the left side of the field, then crossing it to McAll-Delgado in front of the goal.
The tie put La Jolla at 2-4-2 to end Western League play, 6-6-4 overall. For the Senior Game, Viking players were pretty charged up, prepared to play despite a loss to Cathedral Catholic two days earlier at home. Seniors recognized before the game besides Ittner included Lindsay Wilder, Danielle Collins, Freja Ekman, Ella Decker, and Rachel Carroll. Carroll, committed to Utah State next year, was unable to suit up due to an ankle injury.
“We fought, we battled, we tried to find a way to win,” said Jones, coaching her 10th year at La Jolla. “It sums up our season. Luck just hasn’t been on our side. And you need a little bit of luck.” Said Wilder, a defensive back, “I thought we played with a lot more heart than we have in the past. Everyone knew the common goal.”
Ittner had to leave the game for a spell soon after her goal. She wore a brace on her left knee, the result of a sprained medial collateral ligament, and was visibly limping.
Asked how she and her fellow seniors have tried to provide leadership this year, Carroll said, “Just by example, because there were a lot of newbies, and so since we lost a lot of seniors (from last year) we’re all just trying to lead by example.”
Regarding her athletic scholarship to play soccer at Utah State, she said, “I’ve worked for it my whole life. I finally signed, and it’s a great accomplishment. That’s what I wanted to do since I was little — play soccer in college.”
Said Jones of her players: “They have a lot to be proud of. The seniors, especially, gave it everything they had. Defensively, I thought we played well against a very good team.”
The coach commented: “Phoebe Riley plays much older than a sophomore, much more mature. But she’s so dynamic when she gets the ball. I thought Sydney Davies and Lindsay Wilder, both of them marking defenders, had a great game, shutting down a couple of better players in the whole league.”
“We’ve been very fortunate, especially the last six years,” said Jones, assessing the program during her tenure. “We were in five of the last six (CIF) finals.”