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Turlock drops opening playoff game in overtime
Turlocks Morgan Delay battles with her Lodi opponent for the ball during Tuesdays playoff game in Turlock. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

The sixth seeded Turlock High Bulldogs fell to Lodi at home in Tuesday’s opening round of the Division I CIF Sectional tournament, 2-1, after a very physical matchup that saw a stalemate for most of the game.

Turlock started the first half very choppy after turning the ball over on countless occasions and Lodi took advantage notching the first score of the game 20 minutes in as Delaney Dietz broke free on the left wing and struck a shot over the head of goalkeeper Ashlen Kuntz.

Lodi held the lead into the half and just 15 minutes into the second Turlock’s Natalie Larson headed in the first and only score for the ‘Dogs after Estephanie Partida struck a nice corner kick to tie it at one each.

In the game's second overtime, Whitney Devine’s breakaway goal put Lodi up 2-1 and ended Turlock’s great season.

“It was just a breakdown in communication, and that is what happens sometimes, our girls played their hearts out and our season is over now despite a spectacular season and I am very proud of all the girls,” Turlock head coach Cathi Schali-Lopez said.

Turlock finished the season having lost three straight after not dropping a single game before that.

A young Lodi team came out aggressively and pressured the Turlock defense from the opening whistle and caught the Bulldogs by surprise as they turned the ball over more than normal.

Turlock started slow and handed over most midfield play to the Flames of Lodi in the early going as they nearly scored again in the 27th when leading scorer freshman Jessica Raybe hit the cross bar from 25 yards out. 

Despite trailing in the first half, the Bulldogs came out in the second with much more energy and looked to crack the 4-5-1 defensive shell that Lodi put forth, but only one goal would come after a corner kick.

“We expected them [Lodi] to play well. When you get to the playoffs, you know that every team you face is going to be a good team and it is about who brings their game that evening because they will come out on top. That's what playoffs are all about, and we were unable to capitalize on some goal opportunities,” Schali-Lopez said.

The Bulldogs dominated possession in the second and finally equalized in the 55th minute as they pressed and Lodi stayed in their defensive shell to force the game into overtime. 

Lodi keeper Mary McKinney saved a late breakaway attempt off the foot of Kiana Mavis in the 71st minute and regulation time ended at one apiece. 

Turlock was able to press hard and create two chances in extra time.  In the 83rd minute, Mariya Fefilova took a half chance volley from 35 yards out that beat McKinney, but clanged off the right crossbar.

Then, in the 93rd minute, Mavis got through again on the left flank but her shot went harmlessly into the side net.   

Finally in the 95th, Lodi’s Devine got behind the Bulldog defense on the left side and managed to beat a diving goalkeeper in Cailtyn Duval with a perfectly placed ball just inside the far post for the game winner. 

Lodi now moves on to face Oak Ridge on Thursday and Turlock packs up the balls and ends their season at 11-3-2.

“The goal is to get to the finals, and this puts an end to our season and seniors. It is very emotional for them, they played four years for Turlock High and they have three league titles to bring them into their next pathway in life,” said Schali-Lopez.