Saddleback College women’s soccer advances to first round of playoffs

(Michael Grennell)

Michael Grennell

Heavy rain could not stop the Saddleback College women’s soccer team from getting the win on Thursday, as the Gauchos defeated Long Beach City College 1-0 at JSerra Catholic High School.

On Tuesday, Saddleback found out they had made it into the playoffs for the first time in nine years. As the No. 16 seed, the Gauchos had to take on the Long Beach Vikings in a play-in match, with the winner advancing to play No. 1 seed Cerritos College on Saturday.

The Vikings and the Gauchos remained scoreless through the first 90 minutes of the game. At the end of the second half, the referees announced there would be three additional minutes of stoppage time to make up for injury delays and substitutions earlier in the match. As the Gauchos drove down the field, forward Kathryn Kazzi took a shot at the goal that was scooped up by Vikings goalkeeper Karen Nuno. As Nuno came down onto the turf, the ball popped out of her arms, and made contact with the hand of midfielder Liliana Montano, drawing a penalty from the referees. Gauchos defender Emily Winkelmann stepped up to take the penalty kick, and sent the ball flying into the right corner of the goal, just out of the reach of the diving Nuno for the game-winning goal.

Gauchos goalkeeper Alexandria Scott put up her seventh shutout of the season, as she recorded nine saves in the win. Scott has 137 saves on the season, the fourth most in the state.

With the win, the Gauchos (13-3-6) advance to the first round of the Southern California Regionals and will go on the road to face off against the No. 1 seed Cerritos College Falcons (19-0-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Falcons are the defending State Champions, as they defeated the Santiago Canyon College Hawks, 2-0, last season at Mt. San Antonio College.