Women's Soccer Season Ends In Playoff OT, Fall To SMC, 2-1
After 120 minutes of exhausting, yet exciting women's soccer, No. 16-seeded Pasadena City College saw its best season since the early 2000s come to an end in a 2-1 overtime loss to No. 17 Santa Monica Tuesday at Occidental College. The game was a play-in round match of the Southern California Regional Playoffs, the first appearance by the Lancers in the postseason since 2007.
The Lancers, the second place team from South Coast Conference, finished 12-5-5 under third-year head coach Randy Lilavois. The Corsairs, the fourth place team from the Western State Conference South Division, proved how strong that league was this season in improving to 11-4-6, while defeating PCC for the second time in 2012. SMC advances to play at No. 1 seed Santiago Canyon (19-0-1) on Saturday, Nov. 17.
PCC outshot the Corsairs, 20-9, and had the majority of scoring chances. Trailing 1-0, the Lancers sent it to OT on a header goal in the 73rd minute by Cassandra Orozco, who cashed in on a sideline free kick from the 15-yard line by Hallie White.
Santa Monica scored the winning goal in the 104th minute, or with one minute left in the first of the standard two 15-minute, non-sudden death overtime periods. Tylor Fields took a lead pass by Meg Pierce, dribbled in on PCC goalie Tatiana Sanchez and lobbed a short shot over Sanchez's head for the tie-breaking goal. In the game's final minute, PCC had a final opportunity, but Danielle Busta's shot was stopped in the box and a rebound attempt by Orozco sailed over the SMC goal just prior to the referee's final whistle.
Both goalies, Sanchez and Santa Monica's Cindy Godina made sensational stops during the long contest. Godina saw the most attempts and finished with 11 saves, but Sanchez had the save of the game with just four minutes left in overtime. Sanchez made a leaping stop to rob Emily Pierce on a breakaway blast from the 10-yard line. Sanchez finished with five saves.
While Santa Monica shut down PCC's trio of top scorers--Nancy Nunez, Vanessa Capra, and Cassandra Saavedra (game-high four shots), the Lancers didn't have Nunez at full strength after she hurt her leg in the game's opening minute. Nunez played in some spurts in the second half after missing almost the entire first half.
As it turned out, the most effective Lancers turned out to be its stalwart defender group, including White, Heather French, Busta and Bianca Mercado. Orozco, Taylor Gore, and Amanda Papac also controlled the play at midfield and each created scoring opportunities.
SMC took a 1-0 lead with just a minute left in the first half on reserve forward Daysi Serrano's goal after receiving a brilliant cross pass in the box from Mahshar Zargar.
"We gave everything we could to come back and tie it, and then it was heartbreaking to see Santa Monica get that overtime goal," said Lilavois. "The two times we faced them, we had our scoring chances, but they did a good job of clearing out after initial shots. All I can say is we had a fantastic season, we reached the playoffs, and we're going to build on this year."
[Photo--Lancer Amanda Papac heads the ball past a Santa Monica defender during PCC's 2-1, season-ending, overtime loss Tuesday at Occidental College, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]