Playing their second game in three days, the Cerritos College women's soccer team came out with first half energy that helped propel them to a pair of goals. That offensive output would be enough for the #4-seeded Falcons in a 2-1 2nd Round Southern California Regional Playoff win over visiting #5-seeded Chaffey College (17-5-1). The victory was the 27th post-season win in a row for the five-time defending CCCAA State Championships, and will travel to #1-seeded Santa Barbara City, who defeated #8-seeded Orange Coast, 3-0.
Unlike their 1st Round game, which required a goal in the final seconds to send it to overtime, the Falcons (20-1-1) came out strong against a familiar foe. It was the second meeting of the year between the two teams, as both are members of the South Coast Conference. Cerritos, which won their previous meeting, 3-1, got on the board in the 11th minute when freshman Stephanie Nava (Shadow Ridge, NV HS) stole the ball from Panthers defender Rose Martinez on the left side. Nava then pushed the ball along the left side of the 18-yard box and lined a low, shot across the crease and scored into the corner of the net for her third goal in the last four games.
"We came out a lot more aggressive in the first half than we did against San Diego Mesa," said head coach Ruben Gonzalez. "We were able to put pressure on their defense and get out to a lead."
That lead became 2-0 in the 22nd minute, as freshman Mia Ramirez (Torrance HS) lined up for a free kick from about 25 yards out. Her hard attempt deflected off the outside defender on the Chaffey four-player wall and into the net past Panthers goalkeeper Marina Medeiros. It was the team-leading 26th goal of the season for Ramirez.
In the second half of their first round game, the Falcons controlled the ball for the majority of the time. But on Tuesday against the Panthers, Cerritos struggled to keep their pressure up and a more confident Chaffey team was able to get on the board in the 59th minute. Nicole Downing took control of a loose ball and dribbled around the Falcon defense before placing a low shot into the net in the same fashion as the Nava goal.
It would be the only shot on goal for Chaffey in the half, but it forced the Falcons to tighten up their defense. Cerritos did get a couple of good looks at the Panther net in the second half, but saw three of their shots go wide.
Added Gonzalez, "We were complacent in the second half, and as you move forward in the playoffs, the games get tougher. We need to be tougher and play a full 90-minute game in order to continue being successful"
Photos by Daryl Peters
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