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Hawks beat conference rival to end season, head into playoffs on high note

The women's soccer team end the season with a 12-5-3 record and will open the first round of playoffs at home

Sophomore+forward+Vilma+Gonzalez+shoots+a+goal+in+CRC%27s+game+against+American+River+on+Nov.+13.
Sophomore forward Vilma Gonzalez shoots a goal in CRC's game against American River on Nov. 13.

Sophomore forward Vilma Gonzalez shoots a goal in CRC's game against American River on Nov. 13.

Stephan Starnes

Stephan Starnes

Sophomore forward Vilma Gonzalez shoots a goal in CRC's game against American River on Nov. 13.

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Under the bright lights of the stadium with the cheers of a packed crowd assembled to see off the sophomore members of the women’s soccer team in their last regular season game, the Hawks closed out their season with a win against the American River College Beavers on Nov. 13.

 In a hard fought battle for control, the Hawks managed to keep the ball on the Beaver’s side of the pitch early in the game, but didn’t capitalize on their chances to score. The stalemate came to an end in the first half stoppage time, when sophomore forward Vilma Gonzalez scored the first of her two goals for the Hawks.

 “[I’m] proud of my team, that we were able to finish the season with a win,” Gonzalez said. “It felt pretty awesome [to score the goals], it was rewarding. It was a good last sophomore season game.”

 Gonzalez’s goal stood until the 80 minute mark, when freshman defender Selina Barbosa, with an assist from Gonzalez, scored the second.

 The Hawks’ dominance of the game continued shortly after, as seven minutes later Gonzalez, with an assist from freshman midfielder Kylie Forbes, launched the ball right into the goal bringing the score to 3-0 with only minutes left.

Pullquote Photo

The team’s chemistry is a good strength of ours. We all work together well.”

— Vilma Gonzalez

 “It was a good game because it was my sophomore game,” said sophomore midfielder Kaylyn Toyama. “And I feel like we all came out with intensity and we were finding our passes and our one-twos and we finally got to score a lot.”

 The Hawks almost cashed in on a fourth goal as a mad scramble for the ball ended with it being booted past the goalie, but it wasn’t counted as the referee declared the team offsides and disallowed its goal.

In the end, the goal wasn’t needed as the Hawk’s won the game 3-0, even with a few close calls from ARC threatening to break the shutout.

 “I thought we were good,” said head coach Cesar Plasencia. “Last game of the season, we found some ideas and scored some nice goals.”

 Their Sophomore Night win was indicative of how the Hawks played their entire season, always battling back.

The Hawks' sophomores from the left, Kaylyn Toyama, Crystal Vega,  Ashley Briglia, Megan Gomez, Alyssa Hanks, Vilma Gonzalez, Becky Gallo, pose for a picture before their final regular season game at CRC.

The Hawks’ sophomores from the left, Kaylyn Toyama, Crystal Vega, Ashley Briglia, Megan Gomez, Alyssa Hanks, Vilma Gonzalez, Becky Gallo, pose for a picture before their final regular season game at CRC.

 Injuries to two members that the Hawks were looking to base their offense around was how their season started, and while that might have been a deterrent to some teams, it didn’t stop the Hawks’ path back to the playoffs.

 “We were going to the playoffs before this,” said sophomore defender Megan Gomez. “It feels good, it does. Because last year it was like eight seed to the playoffs but this year we’re in already.”

 While they started off with a tie against Solano, the Hawks surged forward to win many of their games, pulling off a five game win streak in the middle of the season, to end up in the third spot in the Big 8 Conference going into the night’s game.

 Gonzalez credited one key factor to the team’s season performance.

 “The team’s chemistry is a good strength of ours,” she said. “We all work together well. [But] there’s always room for improvement for every team.”

 While chemistry is key in a team’s operation, Gomez had her eye on another factor as the team’s strength for their whirlwind season.

 “Our defense [and] definitely our keeper,” Gomez said. “We were a little slow with our attack, but we got the motion and the rhythm. I think overall we were good.”

Freshman goal keeper Anna Brown saves a shot from American River on Nov. 13.

Freshman goal keeper Anna Brown saves a shot from American River on Nov. 13.

 Toyama had her own thoughts about the team’s overall performance for the season.

 “We never give up and we’re really tactical and know how to play one-twos and play around the teams more than kick goals,” she said. “We have more quality than quantity, and sometimes we get injuries and we have to learn to maneuver to it.”

 As the team’s season has wrapped up and they prepare to go into the playoffs, Plasencia said that there wasn’t anything they would do differently to prepare for the next games.

 “We’ll be different with the lineup because we get some of our injured players back,” Plasencia said. “So we’ll have a little bit different look, some of our starters that are back now, we’ll be able to play them. Other than that we’re pretty much entrenched in our ideas of how we’re going to try and resolve some games.”

 The Hawks’ playoff journey begins on Nov. 23 at the same place they ended their regular season, the CRC Stadium.

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Hawks beat conference rival to end season, head into playoffs on high note