Hawks win opener in dramatic fashion

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The women’s soccer team took its first step towards the playoffs Aug. 28, defeating Fresno City College in a thriller.

The Hawks started the season with the same team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season.

“This was a tough opener,” head coach Cesar Plasencia said. “I was really proud of my girls, the way they battled and defended.”

In the opening minutes of the game, Fresno City quickly took possession and put pressure on the Hawks’ defense.

With three early shots on goal, the Rams put themselves in position to take an early lead. However, an early mistake allowed the Hawks to take momentum.

Following a free kick, a Fresno City defender committed a handball resulting in a penalty kick.

Hawks freshman midfielder Jessica DeAnda stepped up and put the penalty shot in for a goal, giving CRC a 1-0 lead midway through the first half.

But the Rams kept the pressure on the Hawks when Fresno City forward Stephanie Agavo took a shot that skimmed off the crossbar.

“They kept the pressure on,” sophomore defender Rachel Dube said. “We didn’t do a great job at communicating.”

The Hawks were able to retain their 1-0 lead into halftime.

It was CRC that took early control into the second half, firing two quick shots on the Fresno City goalkeeper.

But Fresno City refused to lay down, with a near miss off a deflection from eight yards out.

It was not until the 69th minute of the game that the CRC defense finally conceded a goal. Agavo took a shot that skipped off of freshman goalie Joanna Hernandez’s hands and in the back of the net, tying the game at 1-1.

“The talking wasn’t there,” Dube said. “We weren’t connecting out there.”

After the goal, the Rams gained possession and continued to pepper the CRC defense with crosses and shots. However, the Hawks defense would bend, but would not break, stopping all shot attempts from going in.

“We showed our strength,” Dube said. “We pulled together in the second half.”

The game was winding down towards the 90th minute and looked like it would end in a stalemate.

But in stoppage time, CRC was awarded a free kick. Freshman defender Alexis Valenciano struck the ball into the box and after a few deflections freshman forward Alyssa Hanks finally put the ball in the net, giving the Hawks a 2-1 lead with just minutes left in the game.

“It was really nerve racking,” Hanks, who was making her college soccer debut, said. “I saw the ball deflect off my player. I turned around and hipped it in.”

With a team comprised of mostly freshman, Plasencia was glad to see his team got a taste of college-level soccer.

“Well we got a game under our belt and some game fitness,” he said. “This was one of the best teams in the state, so being able to escape with a ‘W’ is big for us.”

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