Another chance to finish what they started in 2012.
Behind another amazing effort from sophomore forward Tiffany Torres, backed up by the amazing effort by the defenders and brilliant tag team of goalies freshman Daisy Garcia and junior Nicole Sierra, the Polar Bears were able to knock off host Fulton College Prep of Van Nuys, 4-1 in the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division III semifinals, a much more glaring difference from last year's semifinal at Daniels Field, where POLA eked out a 2-0 victory.
Torres would score twice, while senior forward Nikki Bonilla assisted on all three Polar Bears (18-5-1 overall) goals in the first half for a dominant 3-0 halftime lead.
In the 11th minute, Bonilla would kick a high cross that took a tricky bounce. Torres read it and headed it in past Fulton College Prep sophomore goalie Alexandra Villacorta. Senior midfielder Alyssa Bristol would take another high cross pass from Bonilla in stride, stuck her long right leg out to poke one through past Villacorta for another goal just seven minutes after Torres' first goal, and the second-seeded Jaguars (18-4-1) were shell-shocked to say the least.
Bonilla would assist sophomore forward Ariella Martinez for the third goal for third-seeded POLA in the 23rd minute as her corner kick would lead both Martinez and Bristol to the net, and Martinez had the last touch as the ball squeezed in for the goal.
However, Torres wasn't through.
In the third minute of the second half, Torres chases down a lightly-tapped pass from sophomore forward Melissa Rodriguez, comes in at full speed to blast in a 'goal of the year' candidate shot that was perfectly placed into the top center of the net over Villacorta's reach for a 4-0 Polar Bear advantage. It was more than enough for POLA to feel good about reaching their second straight City Section championship game.
Making their own statement in this one were the defenders.
Fulton College Prep sophomore forward Esmeralda Uribe came in as a highly regarded force with 27 goals and 11 assists, but the combined efforts of seniors Marisa Reyes and Alena Higgins, sophomores Samantha Walker and Isabela Van Antwerp and others did an excellent job in taking Uribe out of her comfort zone, not allowing her any room to operate for most of the game.
When Uribe or others did manage to break free, Garcia and Sierra were there to shut it down. Garcia came up with three saves on her first-half showing in patrolling the net, and Sierra stopped two shots in the second half.
Uribe did manage to score in the 64th minute off a penalty kick, but that was all the Jaguars could muster.
POLA was not to be denied their date with destiny, and that date is Saturday, March 2 at Miguel Contreras High in Los Angeles in a championship game rematch with top-seeded and two-time defending champion Los Angeles CES, who held off fourth-seeded Annenberg of Los Angeles, 1-0 in the other semifinal.
LACES won last year's title game, 2-1 over POLA.
Expect a barnburner in nine days, and if the Polar Bears have any say in the matter, redemption may just finally be theirs.