Having already clinched the Western State Conference East Division for a seventh straight season while also riding a 10-game winning streak, the biggest task in front of the Cougars was honoring its five sophomores.
Those sophomores lined up at midfield and received a shadow-boxed jersey in a brief pregame ceremony.
The Cougars didn’t need to feel the pressure to add to their streak, though, defeating Citrus College 4-1 at College of the Canyons.
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“One, we’re just hoping for a good performance and to build off some of the things we’ve been training,” said Canyons coach Justin Lundin. “More than anything, though, we just wanted to come out healthy.”
Kylia Bradford aided in the team’s quest for health, scoring two unassisted goals within the first 10 minutes of the game, pushing her team-high mark to 12.
Bradford’s first goal came after a collision with Citrus’ goalkeeper just outside the goalie box. She was able to keep possession, scoring on an open net.
“I just kept thinking ‘Keep going for that ball, don’t stop,’” said Bradford of the goal. “Once I saw the ball go through (the goalkeeper’s) hands, I knew I was going to finish it.”
Crystal Sanchez scored off an assist from Canyon alum Emily Aguilar to put the Cougars up 3-0 at the half.
“Getting that early lead was huge because we were able to rest some players,” Lundin said. “We want to enter the playoffs as fresh as possible, obviously.”
Valencia alum Kayla Brennan scored her second goal of the season with less than 15 minutes to play. Aguilar picked up her second assist of the night on the score.
Citrus tacked on its only goal 15 minutes earlier when a Megan Cabrera shot sailed just over an outstretched save attempt from Emily Ozanich.
Canyons awaits its opponent for its first-round playoff matchup, which will be played next Saturday. Lundin said the team expects to host the match at COC.