VWS Finds Glory in First State Soccer Championship
Beneath chilly, rain-drenched skies and on a field slickened by downpour, Vivian Webb’s varsity soccer team battled its way into the record books on Saturday, March 5, winning the school’s first-ever state championship.
Webb defeated Arrowhead Christian Academy of Redlands, 3-2, in the CIF Southern California Division 5 Regional Championships, preserving a perfect, 20-0 season.
“It’s been such an unbelievable ride,” coach Malick Mbengue said. “To finish a season undefeated is the stuff of legends, and for us to accomplish it in such a fashion, in front of our home fans and share the joy with this community is beyond amazing. I am incredibly proud of the team. Individually and collectively, they were great.”
Webb had faced Arrowhead Christian on Feb. 26 in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 title match. That day, on a dry field and the sun shining, Webb also edged the Eagles, 3-2. Superficially, the games were quite similar – in each, Arrowhead achieved one of its goals on a penalty kick and the final scores are the same – but they played out quite differently.
In the first, Arrowhead successfully controlled much of the midfield and frustrated Webb’s possession and passing style of play with speedy challenges for the ball. Webb relied largely on breakaway goals.
In the second game, Webb countered Arrowhead’s midfield game and managed to keep its passing system alive – though dramatic breakaway runs by striker Abbey Cook ’23 were still key.
“For this game, our team came out knowing that we were the better team,” Cook said. “Knowing they wanted revenge fueled us. We knew they thought we got lucky in the last game.”
The players held a practice Friday – despite the chill, the rain and the fact that Webb had just finished its intense Unbounded Days adventures.
Cook scored the game’s first goal about 20 minutes into the first half and forward Taren Duffy ’22 knocked in the second at about 29 minutes.
About five minutes into the second half, Arrowhead Christian scored on a penalty kick, putting the score at 3-1. It remained there until just four minutes left in the match, when the Eagles scored on a free kick play.
But it just wasn’t enough to topple the Gauls.
“After their second goal, I just thought to myself that we need to hold it together for the last two minutes. Both of their goals were set pieces, so I knew that if we didn’t give them anything they weren’t going to score, and we would win,” Cook said.
“When the final whistle blew, I was simply proud. Proud of every single ounce of effort our team had put in all season, and our perfect record showed that,” she added. “I couldn’t have been happier.”