Two games Saturday and one game Sunday morning determined whether or not a team would play in the semi-final. Culver City (my sister's team), breezed through those three games. They won them all with ease, none of the teams posed a threat to the Culver girls. So they moved on to the semi-final, which was to be played on the the worst field possible against Chino. The field had gopher holes, dry patches of grass, and dirt everywhere. It was a physical game that ended 1-0. The Culver girls pulled it off, yet again! Unfortunately, they lost their leading scorer to an ankle sprain; she stepped into one of those damn holes on the field, and missed the rest of that game and the championship.
The semi-final ended at 3:20 p.m. The final was to be played at 4:00 p.m. It wasn't much of a rest. No rest at all when one takes into consideration that they had played 4 games in a day and a half leading up to this fifth and final game. Exhausted, sore, some in pain, the show still went on. And boy did it go on! What a game it was!
Twelve girls on the Culver side. Eleven on the field and one on the bench as a substitute player. The game was against a Culver rival-- West Torrance. They last met in a tournament that was played during the Thanksgiving break. W. Torrance beat Culver then. They kicked ass and took names (or how does that saying go?). The game started. And for being tired, Culver was showing lots of energy. So much that they were up at half time 1-0. The second-half started, and this time Torrance came out stronger, more energetic, and with a strong willingness to score. Things fell apart for Culver quickly. The team made a mistake, letting Torrance come back into the game. The score was 1-1. Things got even worse after that. Everything was going down hill. The score was now 1-2. Torrance had all the momentum. Five minutes left in the game, and as usual the Culver coach (my dad) kept calm and played very strategically. I had faith Culver could still pull this off. Two minutes left and a corner kick in our favor. I remember saying to myself, "This is it. Here it comes!" The ball was kicked into the mass of girls in front of the goal, and somehow the girls managed. They tied the game! What a comeback! The parents went crazy (as usual). True determination and teamwork. Despite how tired they were, despite how much pain they were in, despite that they were losing and that time was running from them, they never quit. The Culver girls had done something special. The whistle blew. And what was to come next, is something that players dread the most-- penalty kicks.
At this point it was anybody's game. There wasn't too much confidence in the Culver goalie. But, she silenced all doubters. She blocked 2 and paved the way for Culver to have the opportunity to win. It came down to this last kick. A Culver girl went up to the penalty mark. Her body language read confidence. It was a good sign. Everyone was holding their breath, clenching their teeth, grabbing hold of the person next to them, and, being cold as hell, shaking like crazy. Everything was in slow motion now. She took a few steps back with her eyes fixed on the ball, and paused. The whistle blew and she kicked it. Culver won! They made the comeback, and accomplished what they had set out to do! But, most important, they gave all the Culver fans on that very cold Sunday afternoon a game to remember.