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Mendocino College's first state women's soccer appearance ends abruptly

By TEDSILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Mendocino College ran into a powerhouse Wednesday afternoon.

Top-seeded Fresno City College raced to a four-goal lead in the first half, then cruised to a 5-0 win over the Eagles in the first round of the California Community College Athletic Association women’s soccer tournament in Fresno.

“They were better than even I expected,” said Mendocino head coach Shane Huff. “I knew they were going to be good, but they were by far the best team that we played all season. We came out tight and nervous and Fresno’s been there before.”

The loss came in eighth-seed Mendocino’s historic first visit to the CCCAA tournament and capped a 16-2-3 season. Fresno City improved to 16-4-2.

“I could tell our players were really nervous when we had a kick-around before the match,” Huff said. “I told them to use that energy and channel it. They just couldn’t do it against a team that athletic, skilled and deep. If you play nervous against a team like that, they will punish you.”

Fresno City scored just 53 seconds into the game.

“That’s just an indication of how tight our players were to start the game,” Huff said.

The winners went on to score three more first-half goals to take a 4-0 lead at intermission.

Huff was proud of how his team played in the second half, even while acknowledging that Fresno City went into a defense-oriented mode.

“Things started out really rocky, but I thought our girls played hard,” he said. “They never quit. They tackled hard. They started trying to connect on passes. Even if we’d settled down and not been nervous, this is a team that would’ve beaten us. They’re really talented.”

Huff said his sophomores are eyeing four-year college offers.

“All of them are talking to coaches from different places,” he said. “And that’s what you want to see. We’re getting better. They’re getting out and playing and doing the drills. And now they’re able to move on and play at higher levels.

“For our freshmen, this was a learning experience. We have a great freshman group and we’ll be good next year. Now they know what it takes to compete at this level.”