|CRC's women's soccer squad|
It’s been about five years, but Cesar Plasencia knows a little bit about what it’s like to play for a state community college soccer championship.
“It was 2009 and we lost in the championship game to the same team we play in the (state) semi-final on Friday,” the Cosumnes River College womens’ coach said on Tuesday.
That team is Santiago Canyon, a squad that stands at 20-0-3 and is the number one seed from southern California. The two colleges face off Friday at 7 p.m. in the women’s semi-finals being played at Mt. SAC College in Walnut.
The Lady Hawks entered the California Community College soccer playoffs an 11th seed after going 8-7-6 during the regular season. But, then the girls caught fire.
“I always thought our team was little better than our record and what we showed on the field,” Plasencia said. “Injuries affected us in a portion of the season that was difficult for us. We were unable to overcome and we were playing some real difficult teams.”
The Hawks played the most difficult schedule in the state, too, having faced all the top five ranked teams in California.
“I do that purposely trying to prepare my team for the playoff run,” Plasencia added.
CRC has been impressive in the regional games. They started off with a 1-0 win over No. 6 Folsom Lake College on Nov. 22. In the second round, the Hawks beat No. 14 Taft College, 3-1, on Nov. 25.
“It took me, too, as a coach to find my team,” Plasencia admitted. “I think I found where to place the pieces in the right places.”
In the regional final on Nov. 29, CRC defeated second-seeded Modesto Jr. College, 1-0 in double-overtime. It was Erica Lim, a former Sheldon Huskie, who scored the lone goal.
In fact, the Hawks are made up primarily of Elk Grove-area graduates. Their starting goalkeeper is sophomore Anna Brown, who came from Elk Grove High School.
“She has been outstanding,” Plasencia said. “Kylie Forbes (Pleasant Grove H.S.) our midfielder, has been solid.”
Also on the roster are former Pleasant Grove players Kate Burkhardt, Selina Barbosa and Vanessa Curtis. From Cosumnes Oaks are Brianna Ascencio and Alison Krebs.
Kelsey Jantzen, Korie Martin and Marissa Lopez are graduates of Elk Grove High School. Nicole Sanchez and Seanna Eckley hail from Sheldon. Esperanza Romo came out of Franklin High School while Arianna Kumar attended Valley.
Former Pleasant Grove boys and girls soccer coach Rich Moorhouse is an assistant to Plasencia, now in his 11th season at the helm.
“Nobody on our team has any gaudy stats or anything, we’re just solid,” Plasencia said. “More than anything, our lines have been playing really well together than any particular player.”
If the Hawks can pull an upset Friday, the state championship game will be Sunday at 2 p.m. against the winner of Fresno City College (22-0-2) and Cerritos College (22-1).
“Oh, yeah, we’re definitely the underdog,” Placencia admitted. “But, we were the underdog going into the playoffs. We beat Modesto who had just one loss on their record. We’ve been trusting and believing in what we do, finding a way and staying in games.”