SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A few hours after the Fresno City College men's soccer team won its first state championship, the Ram women added one of their own later Sunday at American River College when they beat previously unbeaten Santa Barbara City College, 2-1, to complete their own undefeated season.
Fresno, which got goals from Sophia Zertuche in the 58th minute and Taylor Alkire in the 78th, as well as a key penalty kick save from tournament MVP Riana Castaneda, finished its magical season with a 25-0-2 record. The Vaqueros, who ended 21-1-1, picked up a goal from Riley Moore in the 83rd minute and then almost got the equalizer in stoppage time off a corner kick.
"I've been here 17 years and we've been so close so many times," said head coach Oliver Germond. "These kids did everything we asked of them and more. I'm so proud of them and I just feel so relieved. It's one of the best feelings I've ever felt."
The game was a matchup of two teams that entered the game having given up a combined 10 goals, including just four by the Vaqueros. The two goalies - Holly Telliard of Santa Barbara and Castenada - didn't disappoint. Telliard made a diving save to stop the Rams' Raina Wristen in the 12th minute while Castaneda blocked Chloe Montano on a penalty kick attempt in the 42nd minute. Castaneda finished with four saves while Telliard had three.
"(Briana's) a huge part of our success," said Germond. "She's been amazing and made our program better."
The game was scoreless until the 58th minute when Anissa Wilson's pass to the left in front of the goal was headed in by Zertuche for her seventh goal of the season. The game was still tightly contested but Alkire Taylor took a pass from Wilson in the 78th minute to put another one through for a 2-0 advantage.
The Vaqueros, though, refused to give in, getting a breakaway goal from Riley Moore in the 83rd minute to climb within a goal. They continued to pressure and nearly tied it during stoppage time when Matilda Cassel Ledin tried to punch in a loose ball in front of the goal off a corner kick. The Rams survived and then held on for the win.
The victory provided a historic double-win for Fresno City College.
"I'm so proud to be a Ram, I'm so proud of our guys and our gals," said Germond. "We practice next to each other every day. To go through that same road together, you can't write a movie like this. It's amazing."
For the Fresno sophomores, the victory capped a two-year tenure in which they went 42-3-4, the best in school history.