(Walnut, CA) With a playoff spot on the line for the Mt. SAC Women's Soccer Team, the Mounties gave it everything they had, but lost the South Coast Conference North contest to #6 ranked Chaffey College, 1-0, on Tuesday (11/06).
Prior to the "Sophomore Day" contest, the 10 Mt. SAC sophomores were escorted on to the field by their families and honored by Mt. SAC first-year head coach, Kristin Purper.
"I would personally like to thank you for your legacy at Mt. SAC and for making my first year as head coach memorable. I will always be proud of you," stated Purper.
A win or tie would have most likely given Mt. SAC (9-9-1, 3-3-1) a post season spot. Mt. SAC has one conference game remaining against East L.A. this Friday (11/09), then they will wait for the playoff pairings/seedings announcement on Tuesday (11/13).
"After the game I told the women, it's tough to lose a game like this, but that they played their hearts out. I knew they played hard after seing the dissapointment on their faces... that's the look you have when you work really hard.
"We lost to them (Chaffey) 5-0 in the first meeting. We had no confidence at that time. In the middle of the season we corrected our playing mentality and it worked."
Three games later, the Mounties reeled off six consecutive games without allowing a goal and picked up five wins along with a scoreless tie.
Chaffey, 7-0 in conference and 14-2-2 overall, couldn't get anything going offensively in the first half due to the stifling Mountie defense.
In the 27th minute, Mountie defender Stephanie Robles thwarted a scoring opportunity, knocking the ball away from a Chaffey forward who had an open net after Mt. SAC goal keeper Jacqueline Botello left the goal mouth.
Four minutes later (31st minute), Botello knocked away a Panther corner kick that landed directly in front of the net.
Fifteen minutes into the second half (60th minute), Chaffey had a long free kick was tipped by Botello and found the upper v, for a 1-0 lead.
"We just couldn't put the ball in the net, but I'm proud of my team and how we played our hearts out," said Botello, who will be playing next season at the University of Antelope Valley, in Lancaster.
The Mounties had some goal-scoring opportunities in the second half. Forward Mia Wade had long shot at the 66 minute mark, from left of the goal, but it sailed wide right.
A few minutes later, midfielder Hannah Grady was fouled and had a long scoring opportunity on a direct kick that was also knocked away by Chaffey's keeper.
With two minutes left, Mt. SAC defender April Clark took a long shot that sailed barely over the Chaffey keepers head, but landed on top of the goal.
Sophomore Captains Quotes:
Hailey Wolf (Midfielder) – "I definitely feel like our team has come a long way. In the beginning our rough patches were because we were still getting to know each other. Our coach said that we always had potential. It just took us a little bit of time to figure it out."
Ashley Luevanos (Outside Back) – "Ever since we started the second half of the season, we started to get things goings. This game wasn't a win, but it was a success for us.
"Coach Long and the staff did a fantastic job this year and did Mt. SAC proud."
Casey Moore (Midfielder) – "Something clicked with us in the middle of the season. (Coach) was really worried in the beginning of the season when we weren't doing well. She was able to flip it around and lead us to the cusp of making the playoffs. It shows how good of a coach she is and how good the upcoming seasons will be. It's a new era of Mt. SAC Soccer."
Follow Mt. SAC Women's Soccer on twitter @mtsacwsoccer
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.