San Luis Obispo High School sophomore Emma Ruzius scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lead the girls soccer team to a 2-1 road win Tuesday over Sunny Hills in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
The win puts SLO High in the Division 2 final, which will be played either Friday or Saturday in the Los Angeles area. It’s the first time SLO High has advanced to a division final in school history.
With the score tied 1-1 after regulation, it stayed that way until the second period of overtime when SLO High was awarded a throw in deep in Sunny Hills territory. The ball was whipped into the box by sophomore Frankie Phelan and bounced around until it found the foot of Ruzius, who wrapped her leg around a Sunny Hills defender to slot home the game-winner.
“I think that was the longest throw of Frankie’s life,” SLO High head coach Brittney Viboch said. “I didn’t even know who scored the goal, I just started running on the field when I saw the ball go in.”
It was the 12th goal of the season for Ruzius. Viboch said she was proud of the way the team overcame home-field refs and a long drive to come away with the win.
After a scoreless first half, Sunny Hills had the chance to take the lead when SLO High senior goalkeeper Eislee Sohner was called for the foul inside the penalty box. But Sohner was up to the task on the penalty kick and came up with the save to keep it scoreless.
“It was a great read by her,” said Viboch, a former goalkeeper for Cal Poly. “We have been working on that all year. That save really changed the demeanor of the team.”
Soon after, SLO High junior Amelia Corpuz-Carr scored on a rebound to give SLO High a 1-0 lead. Sunny Hills got on the board with an own-goal by SLO High on a stray header with 10 minutes left in regulation to tie the game at 1-1.
Unseeded SLO High will play away from home for the fourth time in a row when it takes on No. 5 seeded Temecula Valley in the championship game at Corona High on Saturday at 4 p.m.