The St. Bernard’s Crusaders joined some elite company on Friday night by claiming a third straight North Coast Section championship in girls soccer.
St. Bernard’s won 3-1 at Upper Lake in the Division-3 championship game and became just the fifth team in section history to win at least three consecutive championships.
Even more impressive, the Crusaders had to win all three of those NCS titles on the road against higher seeds, including back-to-back championship wins at Upper Lake.
“What a great game the ladies played last night,” head coach Brian Finck said. “All of you came together and played as a team and prevailed. Awesome way to finish the season as 2022 NCS champions.”
The dynamic Laila Florvilus gave the visitors the lead in the first half, capitalizing on a burst of speed with a well-placed shot past the goalie.
The Cougars tied things up with a goal just seconds into the second half, but the Crusaders would have the final say and scored a pair of unanswered goals down the stretch.
Eliana Sellers netted the game-winning goal with 15 minutes remaining on a shot that bounced in front of the Upper Lake goalie and skipped into the back of the net.
The multi-talented Madelyn Shanahan added a late insurance goal from the penalty spot after Shaya Robinson was taken down in the box.
“The ladies peaked at the right time, the playoffs,” the head coach said. “Super proud of their accomplishments.”
For one player in particular, the championship was a milestone achievement.
With the championship medal, senior Adrianna Granados becomes a rare three-time section winner and is the only player to have featured on all three recent SB title winning teams.
Check out all three of St. Bernard’s goals in the championship game below …
Granados was the only freshman on the 2019 championship team and has been an ever present since on both the 2021 and 2022 winning teams.
(There were no championships held in 2020 because of the pandemic.)
The victory caps a memorable season for the SB girls, who won an exciting Little 4 on the final day of the regular season, before edging Mendocino 2-1 in Wednesday’s NCS semifinals.
The Crusaders have now won five section titles, including 1999 and 2003, and are the most successful H-DNL team in the NCS, boys or girls.
The Fortuna boys are next best with three section titles.
Maria Carrillo, Montgomery, Ursuline and Sonoma Academy are the only other girls teams besides St. Bernard’s to have won at least three straight section titles.
Categories: Soccer, St. Bernard's
The Section accolades are tainted… Fall soccer is no longer as competitive as it used to be, with 90% of the section teams switching back to winter soccer… but a 4 team playoff is educational…
Congrats though for being the #1 team, the players did not decide who the competitors would be… the schools, H-DNL educators did… to be winners more easily…