Back-to-back champions

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Midfielder Claudia Lopez carries the CCCAA award given to her for MVP of the game.

Sebastian Echeverry

History repeats itself once more for the Cerritos College women’s soccer team as it was named back-to-back champions of the CCCAA state championships. The final, hosted by Cosumnes River College on Sunday, saw Cerritos College and Santiago Canyon College in a physically brutal game, as the match ended with a 3-0 score.

The key player of the match was sophomore striker Claudia Lopez, who scored the first of the three goals. The opportunity to score arose from a penalty kick when a Cerritos College player was dropped in the 18 yard box of Santiago Canyon College. Lopez inhaled a breath of cool Sacramento air before rifling the shot in the lower left hand corner of the net.

The second half came around and Lopez came back to score for the Falcons. Build up play on account of the Falcons led to confusion and chaos for the Hawks.
In that confusion, Lopez stuck a hard shot at the ball. Although the ball hit a Santiago defender, the rebound off her leg swirled into the back of the Hawks’ net, making the score 2-0.

With a 2-0 lead, the Falcons began to reject any ball in their half of the field in a defensive effort to neutralize all hopes of a Santiago equalizer.
Freshman forward Carolina Ornelas made a mark of her own in this final match as she scored another goal for Cerritos College and ultimately sealed the fate for Santiago on the scoreboard that read 3-0.

Utter joy and pleasure sprang from the players and the committed Cerritos College fans as the field was overtaken by the team and cheering spectators after the whistle blew to finalize the match.

“It’s never easy,” head coach Ruben Gonzalez said. “I think we were well-prepared from the summer class in June.

“We kept preaching that we needed to be the better team, we needed to continue to work (and) we were never satisfied,” Gonzalez said. “It was great to be able to finish the season undefeated and win the championship.”

The Falcons only experienced one tie the whole season and the rest of the matches were victories for them. Gonzalez and much of the coaching staff saw the team on paper in early June and just knew that it would do great things.

“I feel so blessed to be able to have a team of young ladies that bought into what we have been preaching from the beginning of this season,” he added. “I’m lucky that I have them and I’m lucky that I have a great coaching staff.” With a big grin on his face, Gonzalez went home with trophy in his hands.

Carillo said in regard to her team’s tactics, “Making sure that we finish strong in our opportunities and making sure our defense was strong.”

Carillo was ecstatic and feeling “awesome” and “amazing” knowing that her team had made it through it all without losing.

The winner of the tournament’s Most Valuable Player Claudia Lopez could not have been happier with her team’s performance.

“Go in with a lot of energy (and) a lot of determination,” Lopez said. “Play like it’s your last game.”

She believes winning an award like the MVP takes a lot of determination and the will to lead in crucial games. The season closes for the Falcons, and six months of training all went into ending it with the ultimate win.