LE GRAND -- Denise Lopez was near tears as she headed to the sideline at halftime.
Upset with her play, the Le Grand forward was expecting to get a lecture from coach Frank Ferreira.
"I was frustrated because I had three girls on me and I didn't know how to control them," Lopez said.
"He said I was playing the best he's ever seen me play and to keep it up."
Ferreira saw what everybody else saw.
Lopez had a goal and an assist to propel Le Grand to a 2-0 halftime lead against Vacaville Christian.
The junior added another goal in the second half as Le Grand cruised to a 3-0 win in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI soccer playoffs.
"She's something else," Ferreira said. "She'll battle her way through the ball.
"The last couple games, I got on her because I thought she was lazy to the ball.
"She was almost in tears at halftime. I told her don't change a thing."
Ferreira didn't want to see his team switch gears after dominating the first half.
Le Grand (11-4-3) held Vacaville Christian to just one shot in the first 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, Lopez and company kept firing away at VC goalie Emily Lytle.
It took just four minutes for Le Grand to find the net when Lopez fired a pass across the box to a wide-open Jennifer Hansen in front of the net.
Lopez beat Lytle upstairs with a shot midway through the first half to give her team a 2-0 lead.
Vacaville Christian was never in the game.
However, Lopez was unhappy she couldn't find the net on a couple other first-half opportunities.
"I thought my teammates might be upset with me for being a ball hog," she said. "It's not that I didn't want to pass the ball, it's (that) I couldn't with three people on me.
"I just assumed (Ferreira) was going to be upset with me. He surprised me."
Le Grand advanced to the semifinals and will travel to Bradshaw Christian on Thursday.
Bradshaw Christian defeated Golden Sierra 3-2 on Tuesday.
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SJS Division VI Playoffs, First Round
LE GRAND 3
VACAVILLE CHRISTIAN 0
At Le Grand
VACAVILLE CHRISTIAN -- Saves: Emily Lytle 13.
LE GRAND -- Goals: Denise Lopez 2, Jennifer Hansen 1; Assists: Lopez 1, Maggie Perez 1; Saves: Nora Zaragoza 8.
Record: Vacaville Christian 13-3-3; Le Grand 11-4-3.