Tough Loss for Lady Coyotes

December 3, 2018

Women's Final 2018

Ventura, CA-After a storied, undefeated regular season with national rankings and a conference championship won along the way, the Lake Tahoe Community College Coyote women’s soccer team came up just short of grabbing the big prize. The Lady Coyotes (20-1-4) lost in the California Community College Athletics Association Women’s Soccer Championship game on Sunday afternoon, falling to the now three-time state champion Santiago Canyon College Hawks (24-0-0) by a score of 0-1 at Ventura College in southern California. It was the first time since LTCC’s soccer programs started in 2014 that a Coyote team made it all the way to the state finals.

The Lady Coyotes were ranked Number Two in the country according to the United Soccer Coaches Junior College Division III women’s soccer national poll. The team has had a Top 10 national ranki­­­­ng since early in its 2017 season. They will find out on Tuesday Dec. 4, when the next national poll results are released, where they ended up nationally for the season.

Both the Coyotes and the Hawks played a very tough, physical game in Sunday’s final match, remaining scoreless at the half. The Hawks came out strong in the second half, and managed to draw a foul just outside the Coyote goalkeeper’s box with nearly 24 minutes left in the game, giving the Hawks a free kick. That ended up within striking distance of the Coyote’s net, and was headed into the goal, just outside of the reach of Coyote goalkeeper Claudia Janese. It was the only goal Janese allowed during her team’s playoff run, and one of a precious few she’s allowed all season. But the one goal scored in the 66th minute of the game was enough – despite a flurry of activity by the Coyotes around the Hawks’ goal in the final minutes, they were unable to put one in.

It wasn’t the ending they hoped for, but the Coyotes have a slew of reasons to feel excited for the future, and to feel great about the season they had.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group of girls,” said Coyote Head Coach Jeremy Evans, who has been with the team since 2015. “No other team worked harder and wanted to win the state title more than this team. But for those who have actually played athletics, you know this is part of the deal: you don’t always win your last game. But as disappointed as the girls are about their loss in the Finals, they’ll soon look back and appreciate the joy of winning 20 games, of being nationally ranked in the Top 5 all season, of winning another conference championship, of making it to the Final Four, of making it to a state title game, and of being a team in every sense of the word.”

Evans was quick to point out what a complete team effort their phenomenal 2018 season was.

“I’ll be eternally grateful for the chance to coach this special group, and to have coached them alongside assistants Tomaz Marinelli and Nicole Vandehurst, and with the support of our men’s coach, Nick Arbelaez, and our athletic trainer Jeremy Vandehurst,” said Evans. “They all helped make this journey a special one, and they created a positive experience for these student-athletes.”

LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco, who was on hand to witness the tough loss, noted just how far the women’s team has come, and in such a short amount of time.

“The team, Coach Evans, and Athletic Director Mike Spina should rightly be quite proud of themselves,” said DeFranco. “They’ve taken this program to new heights, and we’re now on the national map thanks to their determination and grit. While it certainly was a tough loss, we have a phenomenal program in place and we have a lot to look forward to. Thank you to all of the student-athletes and staff who created a lot of excitement on campus and in our community, and made us all so proud.”

LTCC launched both its Coyote women’s and men’s soccer programs in 2014. The women won back-to-back Golden Valley Conference championships in 2017 and 2018, and have now made it to the regional playoffs three times and the state Final Four once. The men’s soccer team won the Golden Valley Conference in 2015, and also has made it to the regional playoffs three times. The men’s team advanced to the Final Four in 2015, where they lost in the state semi-finals.