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COC women's soccer: Cougars claim crown

COC beats Santa Monica to clinch a conference title

Posted: November 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 12, 2011 1:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons Hannah Cooke (20) and Jessica Heade (17) head toward the goal the ball on Friday at COC.

As College of the Canyons women’s soccer player Casey Wesley prepared to take a free kick from 30 yards out, she had to make an important decision: Attempt to send the ball to the feet of a waiting teammate in the box — a move that had come close to working all game, but hadn’t resulted in a goal — or attempt to score directly off the kick.

Fortunately for the Cougars, Wesley decided to go for goal, scoring in the 83rd minute to give COC a 1-0 victory over Santa Monica College on Friday at COC and clinching the program’s first Western State Conference, South Division championship since 2004.

“I kept trying to get Jessica (Guerrero) the ball,” Wesley said. “I thought I’d try to do it myself and I’m glad I did.”

The rest of the team was glad as well, as the girls stormed the field after the final whistle, gathering at midfield and pouring a bucket of ice water over head coach Justin Lundin’s head.

“It feels great to be here,” Lundin said. “We put a lot of work in. We have some pretty good players and we knew we had the talent to do it.”

The Cougars (13-3-3, 9-1-2) used that talent to get quality looks at the net throughout the match, including a shot by Elvia Contreras early in the second half that bounced off the near post and Beth Barker’s shot eight minutes later that ricocheted off the cross bar.

The defense, though, more than made up for the offense’s inability to punch in a goal.

Goalie Linda Hernandez — who started her first game since conference play began — tallied four saves, as the defense continually sent back Santa Monica (7-7-5, 5-1-4).

Now that they are back on top, though, the Cougars aren’t content just yet.

“We broke the season down into four parts — preseason, first half of conference, second half of conference and playoffs,” Lundin said. “We wrapped up the third-quarter mark. We’ll enjoy this and prepare Monday for playoffs.”


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