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GIRLS SOCCER: NorCal run ends
Sierra succumbs to Branson in semifinals
Bulletin girls soccer 2018-19
Sierra's Jadyn Shinn (7) and Branson's Lena Sugrue (21) battle for the ball. - photo by Photo By Sean Kahler
RIPON — Branson wasted little time setting the tone Thursday night.
The No. 6 Bulls from Ross took just 30 seconds to get a shot on frame and 10 minutes to score, and that was enough for them to defeat second-seeded Sierra 1-0 in the CIF NorCal Division III Regional Soccer Championships. The semifinal was held at Ripon Christian.
Branson (18-2-6) travels to No. 1 Marin Academy (21-2-1) for the championship game on Saturday.
“We like to get forward quickly,” Bulls coach Tyler Gottschalk said. “We don’t like to waste a lot of time playing sideways. If it’s on, we go forward. The girls do a good job of playing positive any time it’s on and getting a lot of numbers into the box.
“We had a super positive start and that calmed us pretty quickly. Obviously, nerves can be running incredibly high playing a fantastic team like Sierra that’s been on such an incredible run for so long. I did the math and they have 99 wins in the last four years.”
Abby Dillon got a through ball to Callie Jones, who found Caitlin Evers to put Branson ahead.
“Their pressure on us was outstanding,” Timberwolves coach Manuel Pires said. “And they really knew how to handle the ball. Our team got a little timid and it showed. The first 40 minutes was all them and we were really fortunate to be down only 1-0 at halftime.
 “After making some adjustments I think we brought our game in the second half, but you won’t beat a team like we played tonight by playing one half — you have to play both halves. They were the better team tonight, without any doubt.”
Sierra (28-3-2) finally got a shot on goal one minute into the second half but could only manage three on the night.
“I think we were the better team in the first half, especially in the first 30 minutes,” Gottschalk said. “And then it started to turn and we were on our back foot nearly the entire second half other than some counterattacks where we should have put the game away. They put us under a ton of pressure and I am proud of how resilient our girls were to absorb that pressure.”
The sun set on a brilliant career, as Jadyn Shinn played her last game as a Timberwolf. Shinn holds the program record with 155 goals, scoring at least 42 in each of the last three seasons.
“One of our main goals at the beginning of the season was to win the section finals and we did that,” Shinn said. “And then to go beyond that and make program history by making it to the state playoffs — and winning a playoff game — is just an amazing feeling.
“So, to get to this point is an honor, and to play all four years like I did at a school like this is amazing. We played against a good team and we gave it our all and it didn’t come out in our favor, but the honor of just playing with this team and getting this far is a great one.”
Sierra had just three shots in the first half, and those were free kicks.
“We just didn’t create on the attacking third the opportunities that we needed,” Pires said. “We were a little bit off on our passing game. They shut us down pretty much.
“This 28-win season is the most we have had in our program. I am really proud of the way these girls battled. We accomplished a lot this season to get here and I am so very proud and blessed to be a part of this group.”