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One tough loss to stomach

You couldn't blame Lee Shaw if he felt a little sick to his stomach Tuesday afternoon.

The Golden Valley girls soccer coach watched his team commit two costly penalties in the final 11 minutes.

Merced's Berenice Chavez converted the two penalty kicks into goals as Merced stole a 2-1 win in a key Central California Conference matchup at GV.

"Two penalties," Shaw said. "If they would have scored in open play, it would have been easier to swallow.

"Our goalie only made one save before the penalty kicks. They had one shot on target. But that's soccer."

GV (3-2-1 CCC) was only 11 minutes away from knocking off its crosstown rival.

Korina Lopez had given Golden Valley a 1-0 lead two minutes into the second half when she scored on a penalty kick.

With the GV defense shutting down everything and the clock running down, Merced's chances didn't look good.

"We were a little worried at the end," Chavez said. "But even if there's just a minute left, that's enough time to score a goal."

Merced caught its first break when a GV defender was whistled for a handball in the box.

Chavez fired a shot past Golden Valley goalie Katie Cole on the ensuing penalty kick to tie the game with 11 minutes left.

Then with just one minute left in the game, Tina Benson was tackled in the box to give Merced another penalty shot.

Again it was Chavez against Cole.

This time Cole made a diving block on the penalty kick.

However, the ball dribbled away and Chavez knocked the rebound in the net for the game-winner.

"It was just a race to the ball," Chavez said. "When it went in the net it was an awesome feeling."

Merced coach Brooke Wilson could finally exhale.

"There's a reason Berenice is our only captain," Wilson said. "She's the one our girls look to. She's extremely talented.

"She's the one I want taking the penalty kicks when the pressure is on."



at Golden Valley

MERCED -- Goals: Berenice Chavez 2; Saves: Stephanie Isenberg 5.

GOLDEN VALLEY -- Kornia Lopez ; Save: Katie Cole 1.

Records: Merced 5-1 CCC; 11-3-1 overall; Golden Valley 3-2-1.

JV -- Merced won.