TURLOCK -- Adriana Moosekian couldn't script such an ending in her own head. But it happened Thursday night.
The Turlock High senior scored on a perfect bending free kick in injury time, then the Bulldogs girls soccer team held on for the final seconds as it beat Pitman 3-2 in front of a raucous crowd on its home field, Joe Debely Stadium.
The victory gave Turlock (18-5-2, 10-1-1) the Central California Conference championship, the CCC's No. 1 seed -- and subsequent home playoff game against Enochs next Friday -- in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Just as important, it was a win over the big crosstown rival. Pitman (14-9-1, 9-2-1) is at Beyer for the first round of next Friday's playoffs.
In the final moments, Moosekian's free kick from just outside the 18-yard line curved just past diving Pride goalkeeper Krista Messer and into the left side of the net for the 3-2 victory. Moosekian was mobbed by teammates after the kick, and by classmates after the game.
"How this game finished, it's perfect," Moosekian said. "I was aiming for a gap in the wall, and somehow it got through."
Her kick ended a classic game that saw each team hold the lead.
Alexis Boudreau gave the Pride a 1-0 lead midway through the first half when she scored off a cross from Marissa Emmons. But the Bulldogs' Kayla Avila equalized on a redirected shot just before halftime.
Turlock's Jordan Carlberg gave her team a 2-1 lead on a breakaway 15 minutes into the second half, but Donya Oliveira evened the score for the Pride five minutes later. She scored when Turlock goalie Paloma Castellanos deflected a free kick.
"What a shot by Adriana, and what a game," Turlock coach Dennis Bishop said. "It was a win we had to have, and the girls came through."
The game's importance was accentuated by the large crowd, which screamed and cheered until the final whistle.
"This is the kind of game we wanted, what a great atmosphere," Bishop said. "It was a great evening of soccer."
For Moosekian and her teammates, it was perfect.
Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.