Tournament Central (watch games, live stats, recaps, photos)
VENTURA - Only four teams remain in the chase for the 2018 California Community College Athletic Association Women’s Soccer State Championship. In a regional round that featured shocking upsets and dominant performances, the Lake Tahoe College Coyotes, the San Joaquin Delta College Mustangs, the Santiago Canyon College Hawks, and the San Bernardino Valley College Wolverines are left standing and vying for a State Championship.
The North’s top-seeded Lake Tahoe (19-0-4) will face off against the South’s second-seeded San Bernardino Valley (19-1-4) on Friday at 4 p.m. at Ventura College, while the South’s top-seeded Santiago Canyon (21-0) will play the North’s second-seeded San Joaquin Delta (19-3-3) at 7.
After entering into the Northern bracket as the fifth seed, Lake Tahoe earned the North’s top seed in the state championship bracket following an early exit in the 2017 regional tournament.
With wins over No. 12 Evergreen Valley and No. 13 West Valley, it was a 2-0 upset victory over top-seeded Sierra College that sent Lake Tahoe into the big dance. Lauren Wolcott carted the hot foot by burying a pair of goals in the contest to seal the deal. She recorded a total of four goals and one assist throughout the three Northern regional contests.
Emily Roberts has been a strong contributor as she has recorded three goals and one assist throughout the regional rounds, while Jordan Higgins has patrolled the pipes to earn three wins, with six saves coming in the Sierra victory alone.
San Joaquin Delta reaches the State Championship tournament after falling one game short last season and earned the second seed in the Northern bracket.
The Mustangs are riding a three-game winning streak capped by a season-finale victory over the state’s No. 2-ranked Sierra. They highlighted their run through the Northern bracket by defeating second-seeded Folsom Lake, 1-0, in the second round. They also defeated 10th-seeded Canada, 3-0, and 11th-seeded Hartnell in penalty kicks.
The defense has been formidable as they allowed just three shots in their state-clinching victory over Hartnell. Amanda Leal has earned three wins after hauling in eight saves throughout the tournament thus far.
In a bracket that saw shocking upsets, the South sees familiar foes in top-seeded Santiago Canyon and second-seeded San Bernardino Valley reach the Southern Championship battle. The two teams met in the third round of the 2017 Southern Regional Championships with Santiago Canyon prevailing, 2-0.
A surprise upset was produced by the Wolverines as they advanced on penalty kicks against top-seeded Cerritos last weekend in a game that had a trip to Ventura for the winner. Prior to defeating Cerritos, they ran through Ventura, 5-2, and followed with a 2-0 defeat over Chaffey.
Vanessa Casillas has been a brick wall between the post with a whopping 26 saves, including 14 coming in the win over Cerritos. Furthermore, she added eight saves in the win over Chaffey leading to three victories. Karen Jacobs has netted two goals and one assist, while Marcella Gallo has dished out two assists.
Santiago Canyon is no stranger to the State Championships as it looks to earn its third state title in program history and first since 2009. The last time the Hawks played in the State Championship tournament was in 2014
The Hawks worked through 18th-seeded Golden West and seventh-seeded Rio Hondo prior to taking down third-seeded Santa Barbara in an overtime thriller.
It is difficult to hone in on a weapon due to a strong attack from up and down the Hawk’s roster. Haley McDevitt has contributed a goal and assist through the tournament, while Jessica Neighbors has notched 13 saves leading to three wins.
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(Nicho DellaValle, Riverside City College)