TURLOCK — Two of the Stanislaus District's top strikers squared off Tuesday, but it was Turlock High midfielder Erica Domingues who provided the decisive goal and sent the Bulldogs to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 soccer semifinals.
With the game tied and 10 minutes remaining, the right-footed Domingues swooped in from the left side and redirected a pass with her left foot into the goal to lift the Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory over Enochs in a showdown between conference champs.
"Erica usually plays in the midfield, but if she sees a scoring opportunity developing she'll come up and join the attack," said Turlock coach Doug Sperry, who is 7-0-1 since coach Dennis Bishop resigned for health reasons in April. "She knows how to finish a play, and it's difficult to defender her down there because she can go to her left or right."
Turlock (20-0-2) travels to Folsom High on Thursday to play Davis of Yolo (22-2-3), and a berth in Saturday's championship match awaits the winner. Turlock has never won a section soccer crown.
The Bulldogs lost to Enochs in last year's quarterfinal, and the Eagles (18-3-1) looked like they might be headed to victory again when the quick-striking Davis scored 25 minutes into the 40-minute first half.
Turlock's defenders were trying to get the ball out of their end, but Davis swiped a pass and put it past the goalie. Sara Latham, who had a hat trick in Friday's first-round victory, tied the match four minutes later when she converted a penalty kick.
It stayed that way until Domingues provided the winning score, and then it was just a matter of Turlock holding off the Eagles' final attacks. Enochs had a number of corner kicks in the final 10 minutes, but each was turned back by goalie Andrea Rosas and her defense.
"It was pretty stressful with all of those corner kicks, because anything can happen once that ball lands in front of the goal," Sperry said. "It's a great opportunity for the attacking team, having their players in front of the goal and the ball coming their way."