Lady Wolverine Soccer Headed To State JC Final Four
When the Sierra College women’s soccer team hosted Cerritos College back in the heat of September in a inter-sectional junior college match played in Rocklin, you can bet that Lady Wolverines coach Jason Gantt probably had no idea that the two teams would see each other again this season.
“We’ve come full circle,” said Gantt Monday as he and the Lady Wolverines prepared to take on Cerritos in a California Community College state semi-final match set for Friday evening at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. “I knew that if we did see them again it would be in the state tournament.”
Gantt’s opportunistic Lady Wolverines, seeded No. 4 in the Northern California Regional tournament, gained the state soccer Final Four berth by coming from behind to nip No. 1 seed Fresno City College, 2-1, last Saturday on the road.
“It was an absolute war,” said Gantt. “We were down 1-0 at halftime but the girls played their hearts out in the second half.”
Sierra squared the match with Fresno City six minutes into the second half when Miani Mahannah (Antelope) headed a ball in off of a shot taken by Caroline Stromick (Rio Americano).
Then with six minutes left to play, Mahannah got behind Fresno’s defense and pushed one past the Rams keeper for the eventual match winner.
Following the go-ahead goal, Sierra had to withstand a flurry of shots by the hosts in the match’s waning minutes. Gantt praised the work of goalie Janelle Grace (Carson City), Kayla Granlee (Roseville) and Mackenzie Edwards (Whitney) for their fine efforts.
“They came at us hard,” said Gannt whose team improved to 16-5-3 overall on the season. “It was a hard fought win all the way around.”
Sierra will now try and turn the tables on Cerritos as the Lady Wolverines led 1-0 with fibe minutes left in their first meeting before dropping a 2-1 decision.
In the other state semi-final Saturday, American River, the North’s No. 2 seed, topped San Francisco City, 2-0, to also gain a state berth. The Beavers will play Santiago Canyon of Orange for a berth to play the Sierra-Cerritos winner in Sunday’s championship match.
“We’ve had a great season,” said Gantt. “We’re just trying to keep it going.”