The road to the top has been bumpy. Baca remembers when he heard the news about Rebecca. When he told the team, most of the girls were sad, and curious to find out what was wrong with their friend. But it also led the team to take on the mission of “winning it for Rebecca,” Baca said. “It was like that would fire the girls up on the field,” Baca said. As the girls kicked their way into their section finals, Baca was confident in his team, but he was also aware of the tough competition they were up against. Without Rebecca, the team was down to 11 players, only two bench players per game. “When the girls got tired, they knew they had to tough it out,” Baca said. During the last game of the section championships, the Highlighters went up against a team that had been undefeated for more than 30 games. Rebecca had missed the previous game – it was the day after her kidney had been removed – but she made it to this important qualifying game. As she cheered on her teammates, they played effortlessly, winning game after game, Baca said. Ultimately, the girls beat the undefeated team 2-0. “When I told the girls we had handed that team their first loss all season, they went crazy. “Their heart was in the game. At one point I wasn’t even coaching them anymore, I was just watching them and cheering them on.” Tori Baca said her team’s priority was to make Rebecca proud. “When she would play with us, she would always go in the right spot, so we wanted to play so hard that it would seem like she was still on the field,” Tori said. Rebecca’s mother, Vicki Buchanan, drove her daughter to all her team’s games. “I wanted her to still be a part of the team,” Buchanan said. And in an odd way, it was soccer, she said, that kept her daughter going. “When we came back from the hospital, the very next day she was ready to get back onto the field,” Buchanan said. Friday, just one day away from today’s state championships, Rebecca was eager to get back on the field. The area on her torso where her kidney was removed is still tender, and even though doctors have cleared her to play, their is some risk involved. But this girl just wants to give a little back to her team. “They call me their good-luck charm,” she said. “I am going to be better luck when I am on the field.” [email protected] (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I was worried that they wouldn’t be OK without me.” What Rebecca never imagined was that her illness would incite her teammates to take their game to the next level. The Highlighters are the first team out of the Castaic Val Verde area to make it to the state championships. “We are making history right now,” Coach Steve Baca said. These 10-year-old girls also are the first in Santa Clarita in the past seven years to make it to today’s Upland competition, which pits the top four American Youth Soccer Organization teams – out of more than 1,000 teams in California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington – against one another. CASTAIC – When 10-year-old Rebecca Buchanan was diagnosed with a 4-centimeter kidney stone, she was worried. When doctors found six more stones infesting her young kidney, she was scared. But when doctors told her they would have to remove the kidney, so swollen it was barely functioning, the preteen was afraid of just one thing: letting down her soccer team. “I was worried about my team,” Rebecca said. Rebecca was in the final games of the season, playing for the Castaic Highlighters.