As the Cerritos College women's soccer team progresses through the playoffs in their quest to return to the Final Four, they are finding teams that are prepared to play a physical game against them. On Tuesday in the 2nd Round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs, the #1-seeded Falcons had to battle their way past #8-seeded Antelope Valley College on their way to a 4-0 victory. With the win, Cerritos (22-0-0) advances to the 3rd Round, where they will host #5-seeded San Bernardino Valley College (19-1-3) on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., who got past #4-seeded Chaffey College on penalty kicks in their previous game. During the 2016 season, Cerritos needed penalty kicks to get past the Wolverines in the 3rd Round on their way to a fifth straight CCCAA State Championship.
The Marauders (13-4-3) came out playing a physical game against the Falcons, who missed out on an early scoring opportunity. In the first minute sophomore Sydney Carr (El Modena HS/UC Irvine) missed wide on an open shot, but did record her state-leading 47th goal of the season to get the scoring started.
In the 24th minute, freshman Valeria Corrilo (Dominguez HS) settled a loose ball at midfield and fed a pass through the Antelope Valley defense to sophomore Serena Camacho (Los Osos HS/UC Irvine). Once she controlled the pass and moved the ball upfield, Camacho shared the ball with Carr, who fired a shot that hit the crossbar and then went into the net.
Even with the 1-0 lead, the Falcons were still looking to get into their offensive groove. The Marauders were putting some pressure on the Cerritos defense, and sophomore Deisy Rodriguez (Katella HS) was up to the task, as she turned away a hard shot from Evencia Welsh. Prior to the end of the first half, it became a 2-0 game when Corrillo gained control of the ball and led a pass up the middle to Camacho, whose cross-net shot resulted in her 33rd goal of the season. Rodriguez went on to make two saves on the day to record her 20th shutout of the season.
"I think it was just a matter of time before we were able to get control of this game," said head coach Ruben Gonzalez. "They're a very good team, but I think our second goal late in the first half took a lot out of them. We knew what they were going to try and do and we did a good job of communicating on the field."
What can be considered a dagger in the game came in the 55th minute when sophomore Jennifer Lopez (Marshall Fundamental HS) lined up for a free kick from about 35 yards out. Striking the ball with authority, Lopez had enough on the shot that it handcuffed Marauder goalkeeper Amanda Lujan, who had the ball spin through her hands and into the net. Later in the game, Lopez had two more free kicks that went just over the crossbar.
Cerritos closed out the scoring in the 67th minute when a bouncing entry pass from sophomore Brianna Yepez (Paramount HS) was mishandled by the Antelope Valley defense and found its way into the net. On the day, the Falcons out-shot the Marauders, 14-2.
Taking on a talented San Bernardino Valley team on Saturday, Gonzalez feels that his team needs to play a better defensive game from the back all the way up to the front.
"They're the type of team that wants to play a low-scoring game," commented Gonzalez. "They look to take advantage of your mistakes and have the talent to make every mistake hurt. We played well defensively today against Antelope Valley, but need to play better if we want to keep our season going."
Photos by Daryl Peterson
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