No. 1 Skyline soccer team slips past Kentridge, 1-0

November 9, 2011

By Matt Massey

NEW — 10:15 a.m. Nov. 9, 2011

With the pressure mounting in a scoreless match, Skyline High School goalkeeper Tina Vargas occupied her mind with only good thoughts.

Vargas made a match-saving save in the 67th minute to preserve a scoreless tie, and top-ranked Skyline went on to beat No. 8 Kentridge 1-0 Tuesday in a first-round Class 4A girls soccer state tournament game at Skyline.

Substitute junior forward Rachel Shim scored in the 75th minute for the only goal

In the quarterfinals this weekend, the Spartans (15-0-2) will host the winner of of the Wednesday Kentwood-Jackson matchup.

Vargas’ big defensive play saved Skyline against Kentridge. The Chargers’ Emily Hanna won a ball on a clearance from Skyline’s Gaby Adamson at midfield and raced clear for a one-on-one with Vargas. The keeper came out high in the penalty area to challenge and made a sliding block of Hanna’s shot to keep the game scoreless.

“That was as good of a save as you’ll see at any level,” Skyline coach Don Braman said. “She didn’t sell out early. She waited and reacted.”

Skyline dodged another Chargers scoring chance when Hunter Mar hammered a long rebound over the crossbar.

Vargas made five saves in securing her eighth shutout of the season.

“My main goal was for this not to be the last game in my high-school soccer career,” she said.

Shim, who blew out her ACL and tore her MCL and her meniscus in 2010, scored on a bouncing ball off a Kentridge defender in the 75th minute.

“It was hard to finish our chances, but that’s why we starting pushing all these players forward at the end,” said Shim. “(Vargas) continues to amaze me.

“I trusted her. That was just an amazing save and we couldn’t believe it.”

Kentridge, which finished 13-3-3, was outshot 12-7.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” Braman said. “I really love the resiliency of this team. They are starting to figure it out.”

Braman felt Vargas literally saved his team’s season.

“Tina really hasn’t had to work that hard for us this year,” he said. “Tonight, we needed her to be at her best. Tonight, she made a huge statement to her team, and that when they can’t get it done, she’s got their back.

“I’ve seen her be great and I knew we needed something amazing.”

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