Sophomore Miranda Nild scored two goals, and the host Castro Valley High girls soccer team rallied to upset Bishop O'Dowd 2-1 on Wednesday night in a West Alameda County Conference-Foothill Division showdown.
Nild, who had missed the previous four games with an ankle injury, lifted the host Trojans with a 32-yard shot to tie the game 1-1 seconds before halftime.
Nild scored the winner in the 66th minute off a Monica Barrios cross from the right, after Jasmine Edwards fed the ball wide from the middle.
"The team's effort was there the whole time," Nild said. "If it wasn't for that, I don't think we'd have gotten this win."
The first-place Dragons (18-2-0, 12-1-0), who had beaten Castro Valley 4-0 in the first round of league play, will face another huge test at home against Berkeley on Friday in Oakland. The Yellowjackets entered the night in second place, five points behind.
Castro Valley (16-2-2, 11-2-0) now looms three points behind the Dragons in the compelling three-team race.
It was a massive second half for the Trojans, who solved a defense that had been virtually impenetrable. Nild's goals were the fifth and sixth the Dragons have allowed all season, and the first goals they've surrendered in league since a 2-1 win over Alameda on Dec. 7.
Dragons' standout attacker Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, in her first action since Dec. 29 as she recovered from a partially torn hamstring, sparked O'Dowd after entering with 10
O'Dowd struck first on a header goal by defender Darby Nordin off a corner kick in the 38th minute.
Contra Costa College wide receiver Ronald Butler has committed to Utah State. Butler, a 6-foot, 182-pound sophomore, caught 55 passes for 870 yards and 13 touchdowns for Contra Costa last season and was an All-Bay Valley Conference selection.
-- Phil Jensen