A couple of inches another way, and Citrus Valley might not have been celebrating its first CIF-Southern Section championship Saturday.
But a shot in the final minute rang off the bottom of the crossbar and was cleared away, preserving a 1-0 halftime lead. It was the wake-up call they needed.
The Blackhawks re-took control in the second half -- and got an insurance goal following some nifty footwork from Araceli Barrio, who converted on a 30-yard blast -- to secure that first title. Citrus Valley defeated Sierra Canyon 2-0 to win the CIF-Southern Section Ford Division 7 championship in girls soccer.
Citrus Valley took the lead 2:30 into the game when Ariel Vinson -- who was celebrating her 16th birthday -- looped a ball that just snuck through the outstretched arms of goaltender Lena Perry.
The Blackhawks continued carrying play for the rest of the half, missing out on several opportunities to extend their lead. Which nearly came back to haunt them if not for the crossbar.
The near miss re-energized Citrus Valley in the second half, as they kept up steady pressure on the Sierra Canyon defense.
Opened in 2009, this is Citrus Valley's first year with seniors, and its first team championship. The girls softball team was a finalist last season.
The winning members of the Citrus Valley girls soccer team are: Clare Chau, Noelle Paramo, Darrian Gonzalez, Alexis Gustafson, Jennifer Guyett, Kaitlyn Herrin, Loren Landrus, Maria Munoz, Evelyn Monterroso, Blanca Barrio, Araceli Barrio, Brooke Wilkie, Alycin Gustafson, Ashlee Smith, Valarie Dooley, Kristina Benvenisti, Breann Demers, Nicolle Duggan, Taylor De Jongh, Ariel Vinson, Allison Herrin and Lauren Haddock.
The head coach is Jacob Geverians, and he is assisted by Patrick Paramo, Jack Avakian and Jessica Mortola.