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OT Goal Lifts BHHS Girls Soccer

The Normans all but wrap up the Ocean League title with a tie against Santa Monica.

Ashley Aviram has been scoring big all season for the Beverly Hills High School girls varsity soccer team, so it's no surprise that she tallied a crucial goal when the Normans needed it most.

The junior rocketed a direct free kick over the head of Santa Monica High School goalkeeper Sarah Lipshy from 35 yards out early in the game's second overtime to propel the Normans to a 1-1 tie against the Vikings Friday night at Nickoll Field. In the regular season, overtime is not sudden death, but rather two extra 10-minute periods. 

Had the Normans lost, they would've had to defeat Inglewood and archrival Culver City to clinch their first league crown since joining the Ocean League in 2004. Now, they need only to tie one of their final two games to capture the title outright.

"I normally take the free kicks from there and I was just trying to put it on frame," Aviram said of her team-best 22nd goal. "I was very upset that we were losing. Of course we wanted to win, but we knew a tie would be sufficient."

It was perhaps one of the most satisfying games coach Ryan Franks has experienced with the Normans—as a player and a coach. He was a center midfielder for boys coach Steve Rappaport from 1992-96 and has piloted the girls program for nine years. What made Friday's tie all the more rewarding is that Aviram's goal was almost identical to the overtime goal she scored to beat the Vikings on their own field earlier in the season.

"She's so clutch," Franks said of Aviram, who is four goals shy of the school single-season record held by Emily Litvak and just eight away from Litvak's career scoring record of 55 goals. "We knew a tie would work in our favor so we took a more conservative approach to the game. But when they scored we had to go into attack mode and we moved [Aviram] up to the front from stopper. She couldn't have placed it any better."

Santa Monica broke the scoreless tie in the first overtime with a redirection by striker Brenda Torres-Matos off a high corner kick from Kristen Vasquez. The Vikings' goal only made the Normans more determined to find the back of the net themselves.

Beverly Hills' senior goalkeeper Ida Trevino entered the game having allowed just one goal in league play and rose to the challenge once again Friday, making 17 saves while constantly communicating with her defenders. By the time the final whistle blew she had almost no voice left to cheer.

"My heart was pounding the whole game. I was yelling the whole time," Trevino said. "We knew the situation going into it, how important it was not to lose. I'm overall really calm but when we got behind I knew we needed to score. I was trying to stay really positive."  

Franks recognized that Trevino's experience showed in the final minutes.

"She was All-League last year, she will be again this year and she was on top of her game tonight," he said. "To have the presence of mind to trap the ball with her chest and waste 30 seconds on the clock shows how sharp she is and how aware she is of the situation."

BHHS wraps up the regular season at home Tuesday against Inglewood (a team the Normans routed 7-0 in their first meeting) and then Thursday at archrival Culver City, which lost 1-0 on a goal by Beverly Hills' Tiffany Moore in their first encounter.  

"This is the pinnacle because I have so much respect for [Samohi] and there's nothing I wanted more this season than to win league," Franks said. "We started the season 3-4, we had a lot of egos and we had some injuries. To overcome it all and be where we are now, I couldn't be more proud. The girls did what they had to do."

Records: Beverly Hills 12-5-3 overall, 7-0-1 league; Santa Monica 10-5-3 overall, 5-2-1 league.

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