Esquivel saves day for Hemet in soccer


   HEMET — Winning a soccer game is nothing new for the successful Hemet High girls program. Winning it three or four times is a little more unusual.

   The Bulldogs spent much of a stormy Tuesday evening seemingly on the verge of putting away its Division 5 second-round game against Fontana Summit. It didn’t go in the books, however, until goal 
keeper Sarai Esquivel made her third save of the penalty kick shooutout to send the Bulldogs to the quarterfinals.

   Hemet (22-0-3), which won the shootout, 3-2, after finishing 2-2 in regulation and extra time, will play host to La Quinta Thursday.

   Patience and resilience were required of the Bulldogs, who twice 
let leads slip away, missed on several breakaway opportunities and had an apparent winning goal in extra time waved off because of a handball. Even in the shootout, the Bulldogs twice appeared headed to victory because of saves by Esquivel only to miss shots of their own.

   Afterward, Hemet coach Craig Dwinnell shook his head and said, “They (Summit) work really hard. But it felt like it should have been 4-0.”

   Both goals for Summit (8-10-3) came off officials’ calls. A perfectly placed free kick from just outside the right top corner of the penalty area by Shelby Griewe tied the 
game 1-1 in the 52nd minute. Seven minutes later, Darielle O’Brien pulled the Sky-Hawks even again on a penalty kick after the Bulldogs were called for a handball on a scramble front of the net.

   In between, it was a track meet for Hemet, as the Bulldogs took advantage of Summit’s aggressive style to get free runs all night. Tristan Self scored on a pretty feed from Irahis Esquivel in the 
23rd minute and Krista Haddock was turned loose on a pass by Nola Prickett to give Hemet a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute.

   Other chances came up empty. Haddock missed on a couple of early shots, the Bulldogs were called for several offsides on prime scoring chances and Summit keeper Yassia Perdomo outraced Hemet players to several loose balls. Perdomo also made a sprawling save late in extra time.

   “She (Perdomo) is the reason 
we’re here,” Summit coach Steve Jennings said. “We put a lot of pressure on our keeper and our defense. And our freshman, Kaitlin (Seebaran), really stepped up.”

   In the penalty kicks, Esquivel stopped three of the last four shots she faced, staying home in the middle of the line to make a low save on Gabrielle Aguilar to clinch it.

   “My teammates pick me up,” Esquivel said. “They give me energy. And I just want to come through for them.”

   Summit’s Shelby Griewe, left, and Hemet’s Krista Haddock battle for the ball during their CIF-SS Division 5 second-round playoff game Tuesday.

   • Silverado downs Centennial in boys basketball. B4 

   Hemet goalie Sarai Esquivel, second from right, is mobbed by teammates following her block of a Summit penalty kick in overtime to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 victory.
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