The relief and pride were evident on Lauren Williams’ beaming face.
Williams, a Franklin High School senior who had a serious knee injury last year, scored two goals and led teammates in a singing celebration after the Wildcats beat defending champion St. Francis 3-0 for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls soccer title Saturday. It was Franklin’s second title in three seasons under veteran coach Eliseo Lopez.
Williams is headed to UC Santa Barbara on scholarship with an extra bounce in her step.
“We love each other, and we love coach Lopez,” Williams said. “When I got hurt last year, coach Lopez told me, ‘You got this. You’ll come back strong.’”
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She did, scoring in each of the Wildcats’ four playoff victories. Other key contributors for Franklin (20-2) included goalkeeper Jennifer Padilla (Cal State Bakersfield), Aleah Kelley (UC Irvine) and Kyra Taylor (UC Riverside).
Lopez said the key was keeping his players relaxed. He regularly played upbeat Spanish songs during practice and after games, including Saturday.
“Some of the girls don’t know a word of Spanish,” Lopez said, watching them boogie on the field. “This is what we do. This is the chemistry and love we have at Franklin.”
Wolves’ wonders – The Woodland girls won the school’s first section soccer championship with a 3-0 victory over Placer in Division IV.
Placer had outscored opponents 7-1 in the playoffs.
Ariana Coronado and Kristen Ward scored first-half goals, and Blayne Shoffit scored in the second half for the Wolves (18-3).
Capital cruisers – This academic year, Capital Christian has won small-school section titles in football, girls and boys basketball and boys soccer. The girls soccer team joined them with a 2-1 victory over Modesto Christian. Korri Armbrust scored both goals for the Cougars, who won their second consecutive Division VI title.
Pool powers – Granite Bay pulled off a double sweep in swimming with boys and girls section team titles.
The boys edged defending champion Davis 303-277 a year after losing to Davis 307-277. Granite Bay won just one race – the 200 freestyle relay in 1 minute, 25.42 seconds – but had the most depth.
The Davis 400 free relay team of Riley Hickman, Soren Dickens, Tucker Fisk and Cameron Wright won in 3:04.34 to break the section’s longest-held swim relay mark, set by Jesuit in 1993 (3:04.64). Fisk is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound All-Metro football player and the son of former Davis and Stanford defensive lineman Jason Fisk, who played 12 NFL seasons. The oldest section boys swimming record is 1:37.52 in the 200 free, set by Kent Johnson of Jesuit in 1993.
Oak Ridge sophomore Bryce Mefford won the 200 free in 1:37.19 and the 100 backstroke in a section-record 48.07.
The Granite Bay girls beat Davis 347-300. The Grizzlies’ Summer Spradley won the 100 free in 51.28 seconds, and Julienne Tadena took the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.30. Granite Bay also won the 200 medley relay (1:43.33), 200 free relay (1:36.46) and 400 free relay (3:24.85).
The first CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships are Friday and Saturday at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex.