Bobcats sink the Pirates to advance

(photo c/o Cliff Robbins)
(photo c/o Cliff Robbins)

The Saddleback women's soccer team advanced to the third round of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Regional Playoffs with a 3-2 win over Ventura College on Tuesday night inside the Saddleback stadium.  The Bobcats will face Cypress on Saturday for the right to play in the state tournament.

Saddleback scored in the first four minutes when Samantha Villasenor took a pass from Kylie Beu and steered it past the Ventura keeper for a 1-0 lead.  It was Villasenor's fourth goal of the season and made it look like the Bobcats were going to run and hide from the Pirates.

Ventura, however, had other plans as the Pirates kept it close throughout.  Ventura tied the game in the 25th minute when Annette Castrejon had a kick from long range that Saddleback keeper Olivia Wynn got a hand on but wasn't able to keep from finding the twine.

Saddleback then struck for two goals late in the half for what appeared to be a decisive lead.  Nadia Amin scored her sixth goal of the season off a pass from Maliyah Medley before scoring her second of the game and seventh of the season just a minute later in the 42nd minute as the Bobcats took a 3-1 lead into the locker room.

Saddleback came out fast in the second half, but was unable to get one past Ventura keeper Kambria Haughton.  The Pirates turned the tables when Saddleback had a bit of a defensive breakdown and Ventura leading scorer Alix Tirado steered a pass past Wynn in the 53rd minute to narrow the lead to 3-2.

Saddleback held Ventura in check the rest of the way, continuing to put pressure on the Pirates.  Haughton kept the Bobcats out of the net, but Ventura was unable to generate any more offense against a Saddleback defense that had surrendered just four goals the entire season coming into the game.  The game got physical in the second half as Ventura's Julie Marcelo and Stephany Ramirez received yellow cards and Nadia Amin earned one for Saddleback. 

Saddleback finished with a 16-4 advantage in total shots and a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal. 

Saddleback improved to 19-1-2 on the season with the win.  They now have a date with Cypress College in the third round of the playoffs, which is the first time the program has advanced that far in the playoffs in the 20-year history of the program.  A win would earn them a spot in the state tournament at Mt. San Antonio College on December 3.

Saddleback and Cypress have faced each other twice this season.  In the opening game, Saddleback outshot the Chargers 25-4 but were unable to land a goal in settling for a 0-0 tie.  The Chargers then gave Saddleback its only defeat of the season when they scored on three corner kicks for a 3-1 win on October 29.

Game time on Saturday is scheduled for 7:00 PM inside the Saddleback stadium.