By MARK DITTMER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
It wasn’t a surprise that No. 3-seeded Santa Rosa JC beat visiting 14th-seeded Taft College Saturday in their first-round CCCAA women’s soccer playoff game. The final score, 1-0, wasn’t unexpected, either. But there were little surprises along the way.
Or, depending on your perspective, big surprises. The way Careena Capra-Martin looked at it, it was a shocker that she scored the game-winning goal.
“I didn’t think it was going to go in,” the Rancho Cotate grad said. “When it went off my foot, I didn’t think it was going in. But I kicked it (to the left side of the goal), and it slipped through her fingers.”
And even once Capra-Martin’s goal found the back of the net, it seemed unlikely it would hold up as the game-winner. The goal came in the 14th minute, amid a flurry of Bear Cub scoring opportunities.
“We created really dangerous scoring opportunities,” Santa Rosa head coach Tracy Hamm said. “(I’m glad) we finished one of them. But in the second round, we need to do a better job of putting those away.”
Santa Rosa is set to host its second-round playoff game on Tuesday; the opponent is to be determined. Whoever it is will have to contend with the quick Bear Cub counterattack that gave Taft fits on Saturday.
Holle Delpina, Kareli Rodriguez, Laura Fenton and Capra-Martin took turns making and taking shots at Taft goalie Lucero Villa.
“I thought they were strong at counterattacks and very athletic,” Cotruna said. “They hustled. They played hard. They’re a physical team. That alone will give other opponents problems.”
However, Santa Rosa’s win on Saturday was no picnic. Hamm called it “a battle,” and it went down to the wire, with Taft leading scorer Joanna Espinoza managing a shot that hit the post in the 85th minute (although, had it found the net, the play apparently would have been nullified by an off-sides whistle).
And that wasn’t even the game’s most harrowing moment. That came earlier, when Rodriguez, the midfielder out of Ursuline, landed awkwardly after being tripped and injured her collarbone. The Bear Cubs would feel the loss of Rodriguez, who assisted on Capra-Martin’s goal and on several other near-misses, in the first half.
“That would hurt us, but it’s a team game, a team sport,” Hamm said. “We could never replace her, but if it comes to that, the team’s going to have to win it for her. We’ll see.”