Cougars fall to top-seeded Panthers in CCCAA SoCal Regional third round
College of the Canyons women’s soccer (15-4-4) fought hard to get to overtime, but the top-seeded Chaffey College Panthers (20-0-2) scored two goals in the extra periods to beat the Cougars, 2-0, at home in the third round of the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs on Tuesday.
“Our girls played amazing,” COC head coach Justin Lundin said. “They battled, they all played for each other. They worked through 90 minutes of regulation, plus 30 minutes of overtime, and just, unfortunately, came up short. But it wasn’t lack of effort, that’s for sure.
“It’s always hard to end the season, but it’s nice when you can end it with that kind of effort and to see the girls really come together and put that kind of performance together.”
The No. 9 Cougars had their hands full going up against the undefeated and top-seeded Panthers. They were able to hold Chaffey scoreless through regulation, but were unable to keep the defensive stronghold up through the two extra periods.
Chaffey forward Kayla Bergin opened the scoring on an unassisted goal in the fourth minute of extra time, followed by a goal in the 115th minute on an unassisted goal from forward Sydney Cotter.
The Panthers held the Cougars to just three total shots in the game as Chaffey continued to mount pressure throughout.
“The game went the way we expected it to go, with them having a lot of the possession,” Lundin said. “They definitely, the majority of the game, had us pinned back, especially in the second half. First half was more of a battle for that middle third of the field. Second half, we were definitely pinned back a lot more, and then the overtime, pinned back a lot more.”
The Cougars’ season ended in historic fashion, as this was the first time that they had reached this round of the postseason. Lundin will be hoping to regroup with his returning players next season, and see what kind of additions can be made to perhaps make a deeper playoff run.
“I think last year we were just about the exact same record that we had this year,” Lundin said. “Typically we kind of rebuild, and keep the same standard every year. Our goal this year is going to be looking for players that can help us take it up one notch, because we’re still falling short of getting to that regional final. That’s our goal is to try to make it to that regional final and have a chance to play in the state championship weekend.”
As for those sophomores who are looking to make the jump to the next level, Lundin is hoping to bring at least four of them to the Sophomore Showcase at American River College in Sacramento on Dec. 3. Lundin will be heading the showcase for the second straight year.
“The great thing about that Sophomore Showcase is it gives us another chance to put our sophomores, our transfer-ready players in front of a lot of four-year schools who are looking for players to bring into their program,” Lundin said. “For us, we don’t know how many players we’re going to get into the showcase yet. I’m hoping we can get four players up there into the showcase and get a chance to put them in front. Last year, there was over 150 four-year coaches at the Sophomore Showcase. So, it’ll be nice to get our players in front of those coaches.”