By Max Ward / Sports Editor
The LBCC women’s soccer season has come to a conclusion following a 1-0 playoff loss against the Saddleback Gauchos on Thursday, Nov. 21. The Vikings finished their season 12-6-2 overall and 8-4-2 in conference. The team’s mediocre record qualified them for an at-large bid in the Southern California Regional Playoffs as the No. 17 seed.
The accomplishment marked the third consecutive playoff appearance for the Vikes and the 13th in 14 seasons. LBCC fought vigorously in the rain against the No. 16 seeded Gauchos to keep their season alive at Junipero Serra High School in San Juan Capistrano. The Vikes season came to an abrupt end following a penalty kick in the opening minute of extra time from Saddleback’s Emily Winkelmann.
The kick immediately followed what LBCC coach Alex Camargo and most fans referred to as a controversial hand-ball call. Long Beach started the match strong and set the game tempo by controlling the ball for the majority of the first half. Despite the Vikings playing without their whole defensive line, the team held its opponent to zero shots on goal in the first half.
The Gauchos rebounded off a poor first half and came out strong in the last 45 minutes of play. Fatigue was a factor for the Vikings as they were unable to control the Gauchos on both sides of the ball as they did in the first half. Camargo said, “Being without Riley Anderson, Naomi Vasquez and Sydney Castillo due to injuries really hurt us in the end.”
The only goal of the game came in the first minute of extended injury time. Saddleback’s game-winning goal came after a series of unfortunate events for the Vikings. Saddleback’s Kathryn Kazzi sent a cross pass, which deflected off LBCC goalkeeper Karen
Nuno and began to head for the net. Before the ball entered the goal, a Viking defender attempted to stop the ball and was called for an illegal hand ball.
The call set up Winkelmann with an opportunity at a penalty kick, which she sailed past a lunging Nuno. Camargo said, “I’m really proud of my players. We fought through so much, but still had a really fun season.”
The LBCC women’s soccer team finished their season 12-7-2 and third in the South Coast Conference with a record of 8-4-2.