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Burlingame defeats Valley Christian to reach CCS Final

Keuftidjian's hat trick caps wild comeback win over Valley Christian

Thursday, February 27, 2003 - SAN JOSE -- A hat trick that didn't get started until the 76th minute of play ... A comeback from a 3-1 deficit for a 4-3 win in double overtime in the Central Coast Section semifinals ...

Burlingame coach Daniel Rosaia called it the greatest comeback ever for a team of his. Considering the circumstances, who could argue?

Burlingame trailed Valley Christian 3-1 with four minutes left in the Central Coast Section boys Division II semifinal match at PAL Stadium. The end of the season beckoned, but David Keuftidjian didn't want to let go.

His hat trick, which began with four minutes left in regulation, brought the Panthers a win-for-the-ages 4-3 victory and catapulted them into the CCS championship match against Santa Cruz, a 3-0 winner over Los Altos in Wednesday's other semifinal, on Friday in a 7 p.m. start at PAL Stadium for the CCS Division II championship.

Keuftidjian scored on a free kick off a setup from Gavin Wenyan in the 76th minute to cut the deficit to 3-2 and give the Panthers hope. Full-fledged euphoria set in a minute later when Mariano Arrua made a lightning run down the left sideline, hit Keuftidjian with a beautiful pass and Keuftidjian did the rest, sending the ball high into the net for the tying score.

The match went into overtime with momentum on Burlingame's side.

"Once it's 3-3 it's our game," Keuftidjian said.

The first 10-minute overtime period concluded scoreless. But in the second minute of the second 10-minute overtime period, Wenyan's corner kick was headed off the right side of the cross bar by Jorge Rodriguez. That near-miss caromed to the left, right in front of the goal, and here came Keuftidjian once more, in the right spot at the right time, with an unstoppable finish for the winning score.

A hat trick in 16 minutes to bring his team from two goals down to one goal up. In the biggest game of the year.

"David's magic," Rosaia said. "I hope a good college picks him up because he's got a heart of gold."

Valley Christian had a 1-0 lead at halftime and extended it to 2-0 early in the second half. Burlingame finally got on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute when Rodriguez scored off a rebound of a shot by Arrua.

CCS Division II

Boys semifinals

Valley Christian (13-7-3)1 2 0 0 -- 3

Burlingame (17-2-4)0 3 0 1 -- 4

VC -- Donny Dequine 2, Cole Bales.

B -- Jorge Rodriguez, David Keuftidjian 3 (Gavin Wenyan, Mariano Arrua).