Saddleback players celebrate advancing to the state finals Photo Credit | Cliff Robbins
The Saddleback Bobcats soccer team took down rivals, Santiago Canyon Hawks 2-0 in California Community College Athletic Association Playoffs Regional Championship on Friday Nov. 25 to book their spot in the state tournament.
The Bobcats were named regional champions. The Bobcats are headed to the state finals for the first time in program history. The state finals will be played in Sacramento at American River College.
The Hawks were this year’s OEC Conference champions. The Bobcats played an amazing game as they got redemption after losing to Santiago Canyon earlier in the year 1-0 at Saddleback Stadium.
Saddleback were able to strike first as the Bobcats scored off of a corner kick. Summer Hackett whipped the ball in for Christina Santoyo to bury a header into the back of the net to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute. Bobcats goaltender, Jamie-Lynne Clark, made a key save in the first half after a free kick was taken by the Hawks that was just outside the 18 yard box.
The game was tightly contested in the second half until the Bobcats got a late goal in the 77th minute as Lacy Ruston crossed a beautiful ball to Lizbeth De Lorea for the finishing blow to make it a 2-0 Saddleback lead. The Saddleback Bobcats last season came one game close to reaching state but lost to another rival in Cypress College, but now are regional champions and are moving on to the state tournament.
“I am proud of this team,” McNicol said. “You know this has been building if you look at our trajectory of our program the past few years we have been leading to this moment, in fact last year I felt like we had a team that could go there and win the whole thing. I am so happy for this group who worked themselves to get this second opportunity.”
Forward Samantha Villasenor discussed what she told the team before the match today “I told them to play every game like it’s your last, you never know if it could be and just give it all you got and we will get the results we want.”
Defender Alyssa Sims talked about what her game plan is and how to pump up the other members of the team “Yeah I always just let them know that we just want to keep playing, let’s not stop our season. We are very fortunate to be still practicing for games and we can’t wait for the trip to Northern California.”
The semi final game will be Friday against San Joaquin Delta at American River College at 7 p.m., there will also be live-stream of the game via the Saddleback Athletics website.