For the last three years, Clovis North’s girls soccer team has been a dominant force in the Central Section, making it to the Valley playoff finals twice, but losing in 2016-17 to Bullard and last season to San Luis Obispo.
But the disappointment the team felt those years can now be forgotten as the Broncos captured the CIF Valley title with a 1-0 win over the Clovis Cougars Saturday afternoon in overtime.
“I can’t explain how great this feels right now,” Broncos coach Nick Pappanduros said. “After last year’s defeat, these girls worked so hard. This was their goal and they made it happen.”
The championship is the first Division-1 Valley soccer title for the Broncos, and it didn’t come easy by any means.
Both teams fought through an extremely physical match with fouls aplenty. Neither team was able to scratch the scoreboard in regulation, meaning that the Valley championship would be determined in extra time.
And in the first of the two 10-minute overtime periods, it was more of the same. Few scoring chances and grueling, physical defense.
But it all changed in the second overtime period.
With five minutes left and another two five-minute sudden-death overtime periods looming, senior Bella Taglione figured it was time to place her stamp on the game and Broncos history.
Taglione placed the game-winning goal into the back of the net, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
The win was extra sweet for Taglione, given how she had been on the previous teams that fell short in the very same game.
“I have been in Valley championships–this is my third one for soccer,” she said. “Freshman year, came short; junior year, came short and finally senior year we all wanted it, we’ve all been through it and we came together and worked hard and finished it off.”