The Petaluma Bulldogs under-12 girls soccer team won five games and tied one to reach the finals of the Association Cup.
The Bulldogs opened Cup play in a five-team bracket, beating the Madera Magic in the opening match, 5-0. Their second game against the Turlock Tornados ended in a scoreless tie despite several scoring opportunities for the Bulldogs.
With tough teams in the bracket, games three and four became must-win games for the Bulldogs to advance. And they delivered. The Bulldogs beat Roseville Fury, a very technical Silver Elite team, 2-0, then beat the Placer Rocklin Inferno, 1-0, to clinch a quarterfinal berth.
In the quarterfinals, the Bulldogs beat a quick Hanford Cenzal Strikerz team, 3-0, to advance to the semifinals. The Bulldogs then faced a big, strong, physical Redding Misfit Renegades team and won, 1-0, earning its way to the finals. The stage was set for two unbeaten and unscored upon teams in the championship game. The Bulldogs and the Celtics from Clovis were the only two out of the 25 teams in the tournament that had not allowed a goal.
The final was a tough, physical, defensive battle as expected. The game was scoreless at the end of regulation, but in overtime, Clovis was given a short free kick after a called foul, which it converted into the game-winner. Final score: Clovis 1, Petaluma 0, as the Bulldogs' hopes of a championship ended just short.
In the Cup, the Bulldogs scored 12 goals, and allowed 0 until the one against Clovis. Gizela Carranza scored five goals, Aubrey Babala scored three, and Lauryn Langston and Samantha Dedrickson each scored two. Langston and Crystal Carreras each had two assists, with Babala and Emily Armas one each.
The defense, led by goalie Samantha Schaefer and backs Delia Reif, Hannah Bauer, Megan Hanley and Jacqueline Clark, was impenetrable for more than 14 halves.
Midfielders Lauren Doran, Lilly Catarozoli, Carranza, Dedrickson and Babala were strong and controlled much of the games, while forwards Kaileigh Pate, Carreras, Langston, Dedrickson, Armas and Babala applied constant forward pressure in their attack.
In the past two seasons, the Bulldogs won or tied over 80 percent of all their games, and placed either first or second in 10 tournaments and three leagues, scoring 152 goals.
The team is coached by Deegan Babala, Rad Babaka and Noah Parker.