Women’s soccer team wins conference championship

Womens+soccer+team+wins+conference+championship

LALIG TARBINIAN

The Rio Hondo women’s soccer team won a share of the Foothill Conference Championship and will play Santa Barbara City College in the quarterfinals of the CCCAA So. Cal Regional on Nov. 22 in Santa Barbara.

Rio Hondo (14-1-4, 7-0-3) ended their conference season tied for first place with San Bernardino Valley College (14-1-6, 7-0-3) after both teams played out a scoreless draw in their final game of the season on Nov. 11 at Rio Hondo College.

In the first minute, forward Andrea Sanchez threatened to score after she leaped into the air and narrowly missed getting on the end of a cross delivered into the SBVC area by midfielder Janeth Acuna.

In the ensuing minutes, Rio Hondo were fortunate to not have allowed a goal after SBVC hit the crossbar from distance at the end of a carefully orchestrated counter attack.

The Lady Roadrunners and the Wolverines created many chances throughout the match, and the game ended, 0-0, after neither team was able score the decisive goal.

The draw resulted in SBVC and Rio Hondo being named co-champions of the Foothill Conference.

“SBV is a very tough team and have been ranked nationally the past four years,” coach Tanaka said after the draw against San Bernardino. “I think we played well and both teams had to make some great defensive plays to keep the game scoreless.”

“We played with a relentless determination to get scoring opportunities and to keep the ball out of our net.”

Tanaka was happy to win the conference title for Rio Hondo after finishing as runners up in conference each of the past three seasons.

“The girls have worked very hard to achieve this goal and win the championship this year,” Tanaka said. “We are very excited to bring the Foothill Conference Championship to Rio Hondo.”

Several hundred Rio Hondo supporters were in attendance for the entire match and congratulated the conference champions after the game.

“The support and encouragement from all of our supporters has been tremendous,” Tanaka said.

“We are very fortunate to have the support from our fans, to have alumni that come back to cheer the team on, staff and faculty that come watch their student athletes compete.”

Rio Hondo’s opponents in the quarterfinals of the So. Cal Regionals will be Santa Barbara City College (14-3-4, 9-0-3) who were the champions of the Western State – North Conference.

The Vaqueros are undefeated at home having won all nine games they have played at SBCC.

The Vaqueros have won eight consecutive games including a 2-0 win against SBVC on Nov. 14 in Santa Barbara.

The Lady Roadrunners have not lost a game since early Sept. and shutout their opponents in 15 of the 19 games they played.

The Rio Hondo defense will have to contain SBCC forwards Kaitlyn Crooker and Sandy Grimaldo who lead their team in goals scored.

Crooker has 18 goals and five assists in 19 games for the Vaqueros and Grimaldo has nine goals and seven assists in 21 games.

The Lady Roadrunners have scored 62 goals this season and all have been scored or assisted by 19 different players.

Sanchez who leads the team with 16 goals and J. Acuna who is fourth in the state with 15 assists will look to generate the offense for Rio Hondo.

Midfielder Cassandra Duran and forward Anabell Portillo both limped off the field in the game against SBVC and it is uncertain if they will be able to play against SBCC.

“We are looking forward to getting everyone back on the field for our playoff game Saturday,” Tanaka said when asked about her players’ status.

Coach Tanaka is pleased with the qualities her team has displayed during this seasons journey from preseason, to the Foothill Conference, to the playoffs.

“I am very proud of the commitment, heart and determination this team has shown,” Tanaka said. “They have been challenged, pushed to their limits and then been successful- it is always wonderful to see the growth.”

“We believe that if we do the work, then good things will happen…We know every team in playoffs will be tough but we are looking forward to the battle.”

Rio Hondo’s game against SBCC is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. at Santa Barbara City College.