PCC’s women’s soccer ended their season with a hard fought 4-4 tie against L.A. Harbor’s Seahawks on Friday after losing 0-4 to Long Beach City College on Tuesday.
The Lancers and Seahawks played a physically intense game that included two yellow cards after a near brawl and many warnings for both teams at Robinson Stadium.
The loss on Tuesday to Long Beach was part of a rocky trend for the Lancers who had been trying to keep up momentum after a rough start at the beginning. The Lancers ended their season with a 7-11-3 record. However, the team was happy with their tie for the last game as they were behind in the first half 3-2 against the Seahawks.
The Lancers and the Seahawks proved they were teams equally matched and nearly mirrored each other in playing style on Friday by starting off the game with two immediate goals from each team, tying the score at 1-1.
Lancers midfielder Nathalie Feil scored from the 15-yard line one minute into the game with an assist from forward Ani Hemelians. Three minutes later the Seahawks answered back with a breakaway goal from Daniela Martin, who dribbled around Lancers goalie Natalie Martin and scored.
As the game quickly heated up in a late-night game, the referee began warning players for rough plays beginning with the Seahawks center Kimberly Dominguez.
Midway through the first half the Seahawks got a point from a corner kick that deflected off the Lancers’ defensive line and into the net, pulling the Seahawks ahead 2-1.
After two attempted goals by Lancers midfielders Sandra Ambrosio and Rachel Schroeder, Hemelians broke away on a long kick from the defense and scored at the 15-yard line, bringing the game back to a tie.
The Seahawks began pummeling the defenders and Martin with more shots on goal. The Seahawks often had two forwards charging Martin at once.
“I just mainly needed to make sure I was focused. I know that these girls [Seahawks] are all over the place and like to come at me in twos,” said Martin.
Schroeder, back from her injury, dribbled up-field into Seahawks territory and was fouled by the already warned Dominguez. Schroeder tired of Dominguez’s shoving and pushed back when the referee wasn’t looking. Ambrosio quickly squelched the near fight but Schroeder and Dominguez each garnered a yellow card.
Ten minutes before the first half ended, Lancers defender Michelle Morales drew a foul and a warning, giving the Seahawks a free-kick. The Seahawks’ Martin sank the ball high into the net from the 23-yard line on the free kick, ending the first half with a 3-2 lead.
As they often do, the Lancers came back recharged and mentally determined not be undermined by the Seahawks antics on the field. Hemelians immediately charged through the Seahawks defense and took a shot on goal that was blocked. The Seahawks retaliated on a throw-in that was denied by a header from Ambrosio.
“Knowing you have many injuries…it’s a game-changer,” said Ambrosio. “But we’re a pretty strong team. We come back fighting hard.”
The game was quick-paced and exciting with both teams nearly scoring on throw-ins and corner kicks as the crowd screamed for the Lancers and cheered their favorite players. Hemelians had her own section of children shouting, “Go Ani go!”
After many attempts, the Seahawks were able to bring their lead to 4-2 when midfielder Melissa Diaz put the ball low and into the corner of the net. Diaz caught the loose ball and put it in after a battle at the goal.
Refusing to give up, the Lancers put more pressure on the Seahawks goalie and defenders with many close calls. Lancers defender Kelly Youseff, on her powerful throw-in, had the ball deflected off the Seahawks defensive line. They tried to block the throw with a header but tipped it into the net. Now the Lancers were only behind one goal.
With only nine minutes left in the game and the pressure taking a toll on the Seahawks, the Seahawks fouled the Lancers in the penalty box. Ambrosio took the penalty shot with a perfect power drive deep into the net. This was one shot goalie Cynthia Prado could never block. The game was at a draw 4-4.
The intensity only mounted and Ambrosio fouled the Seahawks inside the Lancers’ territory and she received a yellow card. The Seahawks’ free kick was denied by Hemelians with a defensive kick in front of the box.
As the whistle blew for the end of the game, the exhausted players walked off the field to a proud coach, Reggie Rivas, in a bitter-sweet last game.
“They’re great girls,” said Rivas. “It’s never how you start. It’s always how you finish. They finished strong. They came back and they fought hard. I’m very, very proud of them.”
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