COC women’s soccer advances to third round, 2-1, over Pierce

College of the Canyons Cougars forward Ryan Shepherd (6) contest for the ball against a Mt. San Jacinto Eagles player during a CCCAA SoCal Regional Playoff game between COC and the Mt. San Jacinto College Eagles at the COC Soccer Field on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

Cougars give head coach Justin Lundin his longest playoff run at the helm 

No. 9 College of the Canyons women’s soccer (15-3-4) beat No. 8 L.A. Pierce College (13-3-6) in the second round of the California Community College Athletic Association Women’s Soccer Southern California Regional Playoffs, 2-1, on Saturday at Pierce College to advance to the Elite Eight. 

The Cougars went ahead with just under five minutes to go in the half on an unassisted goal from freshman Giselle Gomez. After the Brahmas equalized in the 59th minute, the Cougars got the winning goal from their top scorer on the season, sophomore Rebekah Brooks, just over a minute later, again unassisted. 

“To be honest, the girls did amazing, and we absolutely dominated Pierce on Saturday night,” Cougars head coach Justin Lundin said. “The score was a lot closer than the way the game the game went.” 

With the victory, the Cougars have now won two postseason games for the first time in Lundin’s 14 years in charge. 

The Cougars peppered the Pierce goal, netting seven shots on goal to the Brahmas’ three. Cougars’ goalkeeper Kylie Yuzon recorded two saves to keep her team on top. 

Brooks now has three goals and an assist in her two playoff matches. 

“The go-ahead goal, game-winning goal from Rebekah was just an absolute missile, just smashed into the back of the net from about 25 yards out,” Lundin said. 

That goal came after the Brahmas netted the equalizer from what Lundin described as a “fluke goal” on a free kick. 

“[It] actually was a free kick from about 65, 70 yards away from the goal,” Lundin said. “It just came in, our goalkeeper got caught in an area where she probably shouldn’t be; she was in between coming to get it and staying on her line. And the ball just bounced and it went in the goal.” 

Gomez’s goal was key for the Cougars, Lundin said. They had been able to get shots on goal, but just weren’t able to put one in. 

“That goal settled us down. We had about three other clear scoring opportunities before that one. So going into halftime, it was really nice that we were able to get on the board, kind of calm things down a little bit.” 

The Cougars will face the No. 1 Chaffey College Panthers (19-0-2) on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Chaffey College in the Elite Eight. The winner would advance to the semifinals against either No. 4 Mt. San Antonio College or No. 5 Long Beach City College on Saturday. 

“It’ll be a good challenge for us,” Lundin said. “Chaffey is undefeated on the season so far, and our girls are playing really good right now. They’re playing for each other, super connected. So, I think we’re gonna have a good game tomorrow.” 

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