It was the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae. At least that's how Highland girls soccer coach Tom Ferralli described his team's invitation to play in the CIF Southern California Regional Championships.
A fun way to extend a season in which the Scots accomplished their main goal, winning a third-straight Central Section Division III title.
They'll have to settle for that being the high-point of their season after losing 1-0 to visiting Lompoc-Cabrillo in the first round of the Division II regional bracket on Monday.
Yessica Bobo's header into the back of the net in the 64th minute was the difference as the No. 5 Conquistadores (21-7-4) ended the fourth-seeded Scots' 12-game winning streak.
"It's blessing in itself just to be here," Ferralli said. " ... Obviously it (didn't turn out the way) we wanted it to. But I tried to tell the girls you have to look at all that you've accomplished ... It's just been a joyful ride and we'll continue it."
Highland (20-7-2), which came into the contest averaging three goals per game, managed just two shots on goal, one in each half.
Due to an injury, the Scots were without one of their top goal scorers, Danielle Vargas.
The junior forward tallied the game-winning goal for Highland in its Central Section Division III championship victory over Liberty-Madera Ranchos and semifinal win against Visalia-Central Valley Christian.
"(Not having her) changes things," Ferralli said. "She finished the season strong."
Cabrillo had six shots on goal and four corner kicks, almost all of which were registered in the second half.
The first half was played mostly in the midfield as neither team could consistently move the ball into scoring range.
But the final 40 minutes were dominated by Cabrillo, which turned up the defensive pressure, causing the Scots to have a difficult time scoring.
Highland's best scoring chance came midway through the first half when Alexia Gonzalez served a beautiful corner kick to Sydney Quintero, who headed a shot that Cabrillo goalkeeper Kiki Miller deflected over the crossbar.
Both of Cabrillo's first-half shots were handled cleanly by Highland goalkeeper Rebecca Vega.
However, the Conquistadores finally got one by Vega on a set-piece.
Brianna Farley sent in a long free kick that landed between an onrushing wall of Cabrillo players and Vega.
The sophomore goalie ran out to get to the bouncing ball, but Bobo got the side of her head into it first, driving it just inside the near post.
A split-second after connecting her game-winning shot, Bobo's head made hard contact with Vega's right shoulder.
"When the ball was kicked I heard my coach just keep telling me to go so I went for it," Bobo said.
"The ball bounced up. I took the header. My head hit the goalie's shoulder. And while I collided down, my head hit the ground."
After the unintentional blow, Bobo spent several minutes laying on the ground writhing in pain before making her way to the bench where she spent the remainder of the game.
"My head hurts a lot and I have nothing to thank but my team for helping me get that goal," a happy but sore Bobo said.
Once in front, the Conquistadores, hungry for a victory after losing the Southern Section Division V championship game to La Serna, 3-0, on Saturday, didn't let up. "I'm just happy for the girls," Cabrillo coach Derrick Wong said. "This is the first time we've played in the (regional playoffs). It's been a long journey."
While Cabrillo moves on to the regional semifinals, the Scots have next year to look forward to.
Highland returns most of its top players.
"Hopefully we'll be here again next year and just have an opportunity to accomplish what we fell short of this year," Ferralli said.