Fitzgerald scores twice in Piedmont girls soccer win

Sacred Heart's Melanie Koch (10) heads the ball with (from left) Deirdre Kenny and Piedmont's Emily Fitzgerald and Hailey Marshburn. Piedmont won 2-0.

Emily Fitzgerald scored both goals as Piedmont High School’s girls soccer team opened the North Coast Section-Division 4 playoffs with a 2-0 win over visiting Convent of the Sacred Heart-San Francisco. The Feb. 15 victory advanced the Highlanders to the second round. They will host Sonoma Academy-Santa Rosa on Feb. 18.

Fitzgerald’s goals came in the 46th and 57th minutes. Both appeared to fool Convent of the Sacred Heart goalkeeper Elizabeth Fox.

Emily Fitzgerald (15) and Sacred Heart’s Kristen Yueh (8) chase the ball

On the first goal, Fitzgerald fired the ball off of Cubs’ defender Audra Dawkins. The ball appeared to be going to the left of the goal and Fox stopped chasing it. However, when it bounced on the Witter Field turf, the ball spun back like a trick shot in pool, and went into the left corner of the goal. Fox couldn’t believe it and put her hands over her mouth.

“I’m going to be honest, I don’t know if it curved or hit off somebody, but I was pretty surprised myself,” Fitzgerald said. “I hit it and I felt like, ‘Oh, it’s just another shot,’ and then it was in the goal and I was like, ‘Oh, I scored.’

“I think it had spin on it and she was a little surprised by the spin.”

Miranda Liu (left) jostles with Sacred Heart’s Audra Dawkins and Elizabeth Fox

The second goal was more straightforward as Fitzgerald shot from about 30 yards out. It took a bounce in front of Fox and then shot through her legs.

“I kind of hit a knuckeball and I think she wasn’t ready for the knuckleball and it went through her legs,” Fitzgerald said.

Piedmont (10-5-1) controlled the game and never let Convent of the Sacred Heart get any consistent offense, especially as the game wore on. However, the Highlanders’ Audrey Lam had a scary moment when she was hit by the arm or elbow of a Cubs player late in the game, fell to the turf and was immediately bleeding from the nose. Trainers attended to her and she ran up the steps to the training room clutching a towel over her face. Piedmont coach Dan Chubbock confirmed it was a broken nose and that she needed stitches as well. Chubbock said Lam is hoping to play against Sonoma Academy.

Audrey Lam (18) turns the corner around Sacred Heart’s Melanie Koch (10)

As for the win over Convent of the Sacred Heart, Chubbock said, “I thought they were a strong team. I thought they were very physical, they had pace. We were patient. It was very similar to some of the games we had earlier in the year, like the Encinal, Alameda games where we just possessed the ball but didn’t score. Halftime, it looked like they might be a little bit frustrated, but they did what they needed to do. They took the shots when they needed to, they took players on, we moved the ball around well, we looked composed in the back. I’m very happy with the performance.”

Arden Sorensen-Wald (10) gets sandwiched by Sacred Heart’s Sophie Jones (18) and Kristin Yueh (back)

Sonoma Academy defeated Piedmont 2-1 in the second round of last year’s NCS Division 4 playoffs. This year, the Highlanders get to host and it could make a difference.

“I can still remember the goal, straight ball over the top that beats our two center backs,” Chubbock said of last year’s game. “Hopefully, we don’t make the same mistake this year.”

Photos by Damin Esper

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