Playing in a dense fog at Santa Barbara City College on Saturday night, the Cerritos College women's soccer team saw their streak of five straight CCCAA State Championships come to an end with a 1-0 loss. The Falcons (20-2-1), who were the #4-seeded team in Southern California, were playing against the #1-seeded Vaqueros (20-0-1), who had only allowed three goals all season. The tight, collapsing defense took its toll on Cerritos, who hadn't lost a post-season game since a 1-0 loss to Orange Coast College back in 2011. It also ended a 27-match unbeaten streak (26-0-1) that started with the team's first of five straight state titles back in 2012.
"I thought we were the aggressor in the first half and we played really well," said Falcons head coach Ruben Gonzalez. "Santa Barbara was more aggressive in the second half and we seemed to be affected by it, which prevented us from playing the game we wanted to. Plus, they took advantage of one defensive mistake and converted it."
The play in question came in the 59th minute. Santa Barbara's Isabella Viana stole the ball deep in Cerritos territory and sent a crossing back into the front of the net, where Katherine Sheehy was there to head the ball past freshman goalkeeper Deisy Rodriguez (Katella HS).
After a scoreless first half, where the dense fog prevented both teams from sending long balls, the Falcons came out in the second half and nearly got on the board. On the play, sophomore Itzel Ballesteros (Maywood Academy HS) dribbled the ball nearly the length of the field and crossed a pass to freshman Mia Ramirez (Torrance HS). But 5-foot-11 goalkeeper Holly Telliard was able to get up high enough to deflect the shot, which would be the first of two great chances. From 35 yards out, sophomore Maria Hernandez (Sierra Vista HS) drilled a shot that Telliard was able to clear over the top of the crossbar.
Aside from that, Cerritos had their hands full trying to penetrate a Vaqueros defensive quartet that didn't allow a goal at home all season. The Falcons were outshot, 18-8 on the night. Cerritos played the game without a quartet of players who provided depth on defense and contributed to their success this season, Jacky Cibrian (Legacy HS), Erika Garcia (Downey HS), Jessyca Gonzalez (Baldwin Park HS) and Jennifer Lopez (Marshall Fundamental HS).
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