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COC soccer takes charge of conference

Posted: October 8, 2013 10:18 p.m.
Updated: October 8, 2013 10:18 p.m.

COC's Stacey Atwater, left, charges toward the goal against Bakersfield College at COC on Tuesday.

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This was the game circled on College of the Canyons’ calendar.

COC women’s soccer was banged up and facing a tough Bakersfield College team that was also undefeated in conference play coming in.

And thanks to a late goal by sophomore forward Stacey Atwater, the COC Cougars won 1-0 and moved to 3-0 in the Western State Conference, South Division on Tuesday at COC.

“It came down to heart and passion,” said Atwater, who leads the conference with seven goals this year. “We knew we had to win this game.”

The Cougars (7-1-2 overall, 3-0 conference) extend their conference unbeaten streak to 22 games dating back two seasons. COC’s last loss in conference came against these same Bakersfield Renegades in a 1-0 decision on Oct. 21, 2011.

Since then, the conference has been controlled by COC, which won the WSC South title last season.

And so far this year, the Cougars have found success despite numerous injuries.

Players like Atwater, forward Leilani Konrad and center back Elise Wassner are playing through various aches and pains.

There are also a handful of players sitting out with more serious injuries.

“That’s been the story of our season,” said COC head coach Justin Lundin. “We haven’t played a game yet where we’ve had everybody.”

But COC is making do with the relatively depleted roster, and Lundin said the team could be set up well for later in the season if everyone heals up on schedule.

An aggressive attack that yielded 21 total shots finally paid off for the Cougars in the 82nd minute when Atwater headed a Lizzie Rivas corner kick past Bakersfield goalkeeper Tina LaFore for the lead.

A stout defense held off the Renegades (6-3, 2-1) the rest of the way.

“It was two pretty evenly matched teams,” said Bakersfield head coach Scott Dameron. “They just got to a few more balls than us and that was the difference in the game.”

Bakersfield was limited to eight shot attempts, five of which were saved by COC goalkeeper Katherine Koury.

Now in outright first place in the conference, COC gets back in action on Friday at Glendale College.

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