By ERIC WITTMERSHAUS
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Playing in the postseason for the first time, Mendocino College women’s soccer team raced out to a three-goal lead, then held on to beat San Joaquin Delta College, 3-1, in a first-round CCCAA playoff game Saturday in Ukiah.
It’s been a turnaround year for the Eagles under second-year coach Shane Huff, whose team won the Bay Valley Conference after never finishing better than fifth.
On Saturday, Limbet Mena, Anna Waldman and Dana Huff — the coach’s wife — staked the Eagles to a 3-0 halftime lead.
“We jumped on ’em,” Shane Huff said.
“The first half, it wasn’t raining. We could play.
In addition to suiting up for the Eagles and taking courses at the JC, Dana Huff, 31, works full-time as a physical therapist and is a mother of two.
“She’s a big leader for all the young ones who think they have it too rough, who think they’re too busy,” the coach said proudly.
Ronnie Richter assisted on all three goals for the Eagles.
She and Waldman, both 24 and in their first year with the program, have been offensive mainstays. Richter leads the state in assists, and Waldman is second in goals and overall points.
“Both are fantastic soccer players who will go on” to play at four-year schools, Shane Huff said.
After Mendocino took the early lead, it started pouring at halftime, leading to a sloppy, physical second half in which San Joaquin never really threatened.
“They were chasing the game and pushing a lot of numbers forward,” the coach said.
“It became a scrap and not very much fun to watch.”
San Joaquin’s goal didn’t come until the 84th minute.
Having notched their first-ever postseason win, the Eagles have a tall task ahead. Lying in wait in the second round is top overall seed Fresno City College. The Eagles will travel to play the Rams on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
“This is the time of year where we get a lot of rain, so we’re excited to go to Fresno … to get on a dry field,” Shane Huff said.