San Marino's Hope Welder scored two of the Titans' five goals. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer )
SAN MARINO — The San Marino High girls' soccer team's CIF Southern Section Division V playoff match at home against San Jacinto on Thursday night ended early after a San Jacinto player was carted off the field by paramedics.
In the 48th minute, the Tigers' Aracely Ortega fell to the ground at midfield after landing awkwardly going for the ball. Following a 25-minute delay, San Jacinto Coach Walter Guzman asked that the match be called.
“It's a tough decision,” said San Marino Coach Jaime Acuna. “I always want to play, but with respect to the coach's request, I'll go with it. I haven't had to make that call.”
According to Guzman, Ortega felt numbness in her toes and weakness moving her legs, though she remained alert and responsive.
“It's a scary thing,” Guzman said. “She's my best player. When all is said and done, this is a game.”
And it was a game that had already long been decided, as San Marino defeated San Jacinto, 5-0, in earning advancement to Tuesday’s second round against either fourth-seeded Sunkist League champion Bloomington (15-1) or Academy League third-place Sage Hill (14-7-3).
The Titans (14-3) came out aggressive and dominated play from the start. Alex Schuster got things started in the fourth minute rocketing in a strike from about 25 yards away from a Hayley Thompson pass. Hope Welder added a goal in the 13th minute, and Jordyn Duncan received a pass from Welder to get in on the action with a goal of her own in the 16th minute to give San Marino a 3-0 lead.
After a San Jacinto own goal late in the first half, it was Welder again unassisted early in the second half with another strike for the 5-0 advantage.
“I think for us coming off a league win there's a lot of momentum and we just kept that going,” Welder said, referring to the Titans' Rio Hondo League title. “We went in with the mentality that we want to win this game. We just came out with all burners firing.”
It was San Marino's first match in a week after wrapping up Rio Hondo play last Thursday.
“It's hard, but I think because we practice at such a high intensity, it helps us prepare for big games like this,” Welder said.
Welder's thoughts were with the injured San Jacinto player.
“It's really unfortunate that that happened and I just really hope that she's OK,” Welder said. “I really hope her the best.”
San Marino does not play again until Tuesday. Acuna said he plans on getting players healthy and ironing out some kinks.
“We should be fresh,” he said.