SAN RAMON -- The Campolindo High girls soccer team won the North Coast Section Division II championship in thrilling fashion Saturday, edging Las Lomas 8-7 in a in a penalty kick shootout after the Diablo Foothill Athletic League rivals were tied 1-1 through regulation time and two overtime periods.
Third-seeded Campolindo, which overcame numerous injuries throughout the season, held off determined No. 4 seed Las Lomas on a windy day at Dougherty Valley High. The Knights stunned top seed Miramonte 2-1 in the semifinals, and the Cougars bested defending champion Bishop O'Dowd in a shootout.
The victory marks the fifth NCS Division II title for Campolindo, and its first since 2007.
"I guess if people knew half of all the roadblocks we've had in the past five weeks, they would understand why this win is so special," Campolindo coach Ernesto Silva said.
Campolindo (14-3-7) led 1-0 on a goal in the fourth minute by junior forward AJ Morgan, on a rebound shot after the Cougars shot off the crossbar.
The Knights (13-4-6) tied it in the 54th minute, when sophomore Kathryn August hustled past the Cougars back four and scored off the crossbar.
Las Lomas goalkeeper Caroline Runco, who had 12 saves, came up big in the 66th minute with a diving save to deny Bridget Coleman, who hit a low blast on a breakaway.
In the 70th minute, Cougars star Emily Orwig missed a penalty kick, shooting off the goalpost to her right after the Knights were called for a handball. The teams were scoreless during a back-and-forth and intense 20 minutes of sudden-death overtime.
In penalty kicks, the teams made their first two attempts in the best-of-five shootout before the goalkeepers, Runco and Campolindo's Emily Parish, made saves in the third round. In the fifth round, Coleman and the Knights' Runco scored to make it 4-4.
The drama kept building in sudden-death penalty kicks as the teams' next three kickers all scored. Finally, Campolindo's Vanessa Larson scored to make it 8-7 before Parish made the climactic save.
Parish epitomized Cougars' resilience overall, playing the final with a heavily taped sprained ankle. Silva marveled at his team's courage.
"We've had injuries that really threatened to change the course that we were on, and we've overcome that," Silva said. "I give it to them. Everybody stepped up when we needed to step up. We knew it wasn't going to be easy.
"Bishop O'Dowd was very tough to get through, and, having coached several of the girls who play for Las Lomas, I knew it wasn't going to be easy, too. I'm just very glad that this time the soccer gods went our way."
It was a bittersweet ending for the Knights, who weren't expect to make the final. They finished third in the DFAL behind perennial league powers Miramonte and Campolindo.
"We came here to win," Knights coach Jeremy Hull said. "We didn't come here to lose on PKs. We didn't want knocking off the No. 1 seed to be the highlight of our year. We wanted our highlight to be today. I think we earned it. I told Ernesto 'we both earned it' when we were over there. Tough game. Someone had to lose."
On August's big goal, full of fire and brimstone she was able to get past the coming out keeper.
"No one was stopping that ball," Hull said. "It was either going in or over, or hitting the crossbar and going 50 yards out. There was some real vitriol on that effort. She outworked everybody to get behind and decided nobody's stopping this."