For the first time in the history of San Diego Community College Women's Soccer programs, a team has advanced to the State Final Four. Since the inception of Women's Soccer in 1988, no community college team from San Diego County has ever made it this far. In addition, this is the first time this high of seed (#7) has ever made it to the final four from Southern California. Mesa College's run began on November 22nd:
#7 San Diego Mesa 1 #10 Santa Barbara 0 in 2 OT
In their first home playoff game, a back and forth affair found both teams desperate for a good chance on goal. Yasmina Taketa had two fantastic crosses in the first half but Mesa was unable to convert. Mesa finally broke through in the first minute of the first overtime as Taketa took the corner kick and sent it to the near post. Sola Esparza flicked it on from the near post where Danielle Carr headed towards goal. The second header hit the post and after a scuffle in front of the box, Jessica Hernandez slid through the fray and put the ball in the back of the net. Santa Barbara applied pressure throughout the match but Tiffany Apple was up to the task and had 6 key saves to preserve the shutout.
#7 San Diego Mesa 2 #2 Ventura 0
On Tuesday night, November 25th in a driving rain, San Diego Mesa took on the #2 seed Ventura College Pirates. Despite the adverse conditions, Mesa came out on fire and scored in the fifth minute on a cross from Emily Jenkins, tapped on by Yasmina Taketa and calmly deposited in the back of the net by Chelsea Gentry. Fifteen minutes later, a nifty one-two pass from Taketa to Sola Esparza resulted in Esparza calmly firing a low liner past the outstretched arms of the Ventura keeper. After dominating the first half, Mesa held strong in the second half and the MVP of the match had to be defender Sierra Williams. She shut down All-State Forward Jaz Strozier all game and helped Tiffany Apple preserve her second straight playoff shutout.
#7 San Diego Mesa 1 #6 Santiago Canyon 1 Mesa wins in Pk's 5-4
On a beautiful afternoon on November 29th at Santiago Canyon, Mesa found a way to advance to its first final four appearance in its history. After playing through a sluggish first half, Mesa surrendered its first goal of these playoffs in the 43rd minute. Responding to the challenge, the Olympians came out in the second half with a renewed energy and earned a free kick from 40 yards out in the 55th minute. Jessica Hernandez sent a curling free kick that dropped in just under the cross bar to knot the game at 1-1. Defensively Tiffany Apple was fantastic in goal again. She had 11 saves during the game and 2 OT's. Apple then turned in another outstanding performance during the PK's, saving two shots as the teams went to a dramatic 7 kickers. Apple saved the seventh kick on a diving sprawl to her left and then captain Samantha Mellinger calmly deposited the seventh kick for Mesa to send them to their First Final Four.
State Final Four
#1 Santa Rosa vs. #7 San Diego Mesa College Friday Dec. 5th at 4 PM
#1 Cerritos vs. #3 Modesto Friday Dec. 5th at 7 PM
Winners meet for the State Championship Sunday, Dec. 7th at 2 PM.