SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Fresno City College's bid for its first California Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Soccer Championship since 1988 - and the first for a Northern California region team since 2011 - got a step closer on Friday at American River College after the Rams turned back Santiago Canyon after penalty kicks in a semifinal matchup.
Fresno City, the top seed from the north, remained unbeaten at 24-0-3 after the 1-1 tie. Santiago Canyon, seeded second from the south, ended its tremendous season with a 20-2-3 mark.
The Rams advance to Sunday's championship game at 3 p.m. against either Santa Barbara City College (20-0-1) and Folsom Lake College (21-1-2) which play at 7 p.m.
Fresno City needed to come back to advance after the Hawks' Ashley Roskelly headed in a free kick from Kennedi Hauck in the 24th minute. Neither team could find the back of the net over the final 21 minutes of the first half, keeping Santiago Canyon in front, 1-0, at intermission.
The game's 58th minute brought the tying score when Ashley Bracamonte took a through-pass from Franki Navarro right of the goal, pushed it to the end line and then crossed the ball to the left where Raina Wristen knocked it in for her 22nd goal of the season.
The next 62 minutes of action, which included a pair of 15-minute overtimes, couldn't decide the semifinal, sending it to penalty kicks. That's where misses to the right and left on the Hawks' first two kicks put them in a tough spot after Danielle Pacheco and Jasmine Garibay were both successful for Fresno.
Goalie Riana Castaneda then came up big for the Rams, stopping April Gonzalez after diving left to stop her try. Taylor Alkire then clinched the game with her conversion.
Fresno was the first women's champion in 1988 while Santa Rosa JC's in 2011 was the last by a school from Northern California.