Women's Soccer Wins Two for Two

The regular season is over, and what do the Santa Monica College Lady Corsairs have to show for it? How does their first trip to the playoffs since 2006 sound? A regular season record totaling only two losses, with the rest ties and wins?

These aren't last year 's Lady Corsairs, who compiled a 6-11-3 record, missing the playoffs in the process. In fact, there hasn't been a Lady Corsair team like this one since 2005, when the team won 16 games but was upset in the first round of the playoffs.

Of course, this season's end result of reaching the regional playoffs didn't come easily; actually, their spot wasn't locked up until their two final games of the regular season, when the Lady Corsairs put up a 5-1 performance against Citrus College (8-14-2) and a 5-2 win against Los Angeles Mission College (6-13-3) to secure a playoff birth.

"It was kind of emotional because everything was on the line. If we lost, we weren't going to go the playoffs. If we won, we would, so I didn't know if it was my last game or not," said Jackie Dawson, one of the sophomore co-captains who was in her last regular season game.

Last Friday's game against Citrus College was the last regular season game for the Lady Corsairs, which in turn was the last regular season game for the five sophomores on the team. Given their record in relation to the other community college soccer teams in California, the Lady Corsairs needed a win to maintain eligibility for the playoffs, something that Coach Aaron Benditson knew prior to Friday's game.

"Everyone knew what was at stake, if we were going to go to the playoffs. They just had a lot of motivation, and they played with a lot of energy. They played for each other. It was an inspiring performance," said Benditson.

The 5-1 on the scoreboard at the end of the game was a product of the many weapons the Lady Corsairs have. A defense, led by co-captains Jackie Dawson and Jenilee Pabro, was impervious to the attacks of the Citrus College offense.

Sophomore midfielder Daniella DaCosta added a goal along with a pair of assists, increasing her season total of assists to 11.

Freshman forward Jen Hager also posted a goal in her first regular season finale, putting her at 15 goals to end the regular season.

From a statistical standpoint, with a defensive presence as strong as the Lady Corsairs, the offensive production of the team has been equally impressive.

Barring the injury that removed her from six games this season, freshman forward Jen Hager sits among the top five goal scoring field players among community colleges, with sophomore midfielder Daniella DaCosta being in the top 15 for assists for field players.

Bookend these two players with freshman goalie Sarah McElroy, who has allowed slightly less than one goal per game over the course of the season, and you have the formula for what California Community College Soccer News has ranked as their #8 team in their statewide standings poll on their homepage.

However, the celebrat ion of reaching the playoffs is now over, as the Lady Corsairs face the first round of the playoffs this Saturday away from home.

Announcements will be made later in the week as to who they are playing, with Coach Benditson speculating between Moorpark College (12-4-4), whom the Lady Corsairs defeated earlier this season in a 1-0 victory, and Santiago Canyon College (16-2-4), a program who has won no fewer than 15 games in a season dating back to 2003.

"We're going game by game. We want to win this game, and then go on to the next game and win that one. We're not stopping, and we're not getting too ahead of ourselves. We're not looking too far into the future. We're just looking to get as far as we can, enjoy our last few games with each other, give it our all out there, and leave everything on the field," said Jackie Dawson.

If the Lady Corsairs are able to win away in their opening round game , they wi l l r e turn home for thei r second round game. Even though Coach Benditson's predictions for which they will face are both daunting teams, his concern isn't discernable.

"It's the playoffs. Anything can happen," said Benditson.