They left it until late, but Angie Crozier finally came through for the San Luis Obispo High School girls soccer team.
In the second of two sudden-death overtimes Friday night against Buchanan, following a regular overtime period, Crozier found space down the right side of the field. She crossed it, as the winger had multiple times in the game, but this time the ball sailed at an impossible angle over the goalkeeper’s head into the top left corner.
The goal lifted SLO High to a 1-0 victory and into the semifinals of the CIF-Central Section Division I playoffs.
“(Crozier) made it look like a really great shot,” San Luis Obispo head coach Brittney Viboch said. “We had been pressuring for the last 70 minutes. One was bound to go in. If that was going to be it, I’ll take it and move forward.”
The Tigers played to a stalemate in regular time through sheets of rain on the artificial turf field at Pioneer Valley High School. The game was eerily similar to the one played right before on the same field, where the San Luis Obispo boys were on the other end of a sudden-death overtime result.
San Luis Obispo had a slow, listless start, but it grew into the game after weathering the initial pressure from a physical Buchanan side. The Tigers created more chances as the game went on, but failed to produce the quality needed for a goal in the final third.
The play of freshman keeper Riley Wilkerson was a big reason why the Tigers were even able to make it to overtime. Wilkerson had three crucial saves in the opening 20 minutes to keep the game scoreless in just her second ever playoff game.
Viboch struggled at first to find words to describe how well Wilkerson played, but called the game one of her best performances.
“She single-handedly kept us in the game — for the entire game,” Viboch said. “As a coach, it’s really great to see that from a young player like that. She’s 14.”
Third-seeded San Luis Obispo (20-2-1) will play seventh-seeded Clovis in the semifinals on Tuesday. Clovis upset second-seeded Central 2-0 on Friday.
Other CIF-CS girls soccer playoff games involving SLO County teams
Redwood 2, Arroyo Grande 1 (first-round, Wednesday)
Clovis 1, Atascadero 0 (first-round, Wednesday)
Garces Memorial 2, Nipomo 1 (first-round, Wednesday)
Templeton 2, Hoover 0 (first-round, Wednesday)
San Joaquin Memorial vs. Templeton (4 p.m. Saturday)
Hanford 8, Morro Bay 0 (first-round, Wednesday)