APTOS—The stakes were high for the Cabrillo College women’s soccer team going into Friday night’s season finale.
Not only did the Seahawks have a chance of clinching a Coast Conference South Division title, but they also had a shot of finishing the regular season with an unblemished record in conference play.
A first half goal from sophomore midfielder Jennifer Limon was all Cabrillo needed to get past City College of San Francisco, 1-0, for its second straight conference title.
“It was so intense, we really wanted it. Both teams really wanted it,” said Cabrillo forward Aubree Westjohn.
Tensions were high in the pivotal matchup between Cabrillo (13-5-1, 9-0) and CCSF (14-3-1, 8-1), which were both 8-0 in conference play prior to their match.
The Seahawks were also thankful for such a good turnout and support from the home crowd.
“It was just awesome that we were able to give it our all in today’s game and have a lot of fans come out and support us,” Westjohn said.
It was Sophomore Night for the Seahawks, who wanted to end the season undefeated going into the California Community College Athletic Association NorCal Regional playoffs.
“San Francisco is a really good team, so it’s awesome that we were able to play them as our last game on senior night,” Westjohn said.
The former Aptos High standout has a state leading 27 goals this season and has been an integral piece in the Seahawks’ crushing offense.
In 19 total games played this season, Cabrillo has scored an average of 3.6 goals per game with a 4.8 shot on goal percentage.
On the other end of the field, Cabrillo’s defense has recorded nine-straight shutouts and has not allowed a single goal in conference play.
“We have an amazing defense and amazing forwards,” said Cabrillo goalkeeper Jessica Zavala. “At practice we focused more on finishing, talking and pressuring because we knew this team was going to be aggressive.”
Going into Friday’s game, CCSF had a slightly better overall record than Cabrillo.
The Seahawks were hoping to shut down sophomore forward Maleah Evans, who had a team-high 20 goals this season.
However, she hit the turf hard late in the second half and was helped off the field by her teammates. Evans did not return in the several minutes remaining in the game.
The Rams had several opportunities to tie the game but their shots on goal were deflected by Zavala.
“They’re a great team. We knew it was going to be a hard game because they have some really talented players,” she said.
Of the 28 players on the roster, 26 attended local high schools including Zavala, who went to Watsonville High.
Many of the players are familiar after competing against each other, or together, in the past.
“It definitely helps a lot, the chemistry that they’ve built together,” said Cabrillo coach Gladys Mondragon.
The Seahawks have decimated their opponents throughout conference play, scoring a total of 42 goals and giving up 0. This includes a pair of 12-0 victories against Foothill and Ohlone.
They found this type of success partly due to a team environment of unity and dependability in one another.
“We’re a confident team and we trust that every player will give it their all,” Westjohn said. “Once we started the season we all knew how everyone played, so we came together really well.”
Cabrillo will attempt to continue the momentum of its nine-game win streak into the NorCal Regional playoffs.
“During the playoffs we’re going to go one game at a time,” Mondragon said. “We’re going to stay organized and make sure that we keep excelling at what we’re good at.”
Last year, they advanced past the first round for the first time in the program’s history after a shootout win over Taft College.
The Seahawks lost to Sierra, 3-0, in the regional semifinals.
As the highest ranked team in the Coast Conference’s South Division, they’ll most likely have favorable seeding going into the playoffs.
From there, the Seahawks hope to continue the success they have had throughout the season.
“We’re going to train hard and give it our all going into each game, and take each game one by one,” Westjohn said.
As a Cabrillo ( soon to change) college trustee, I want to congratulate our FABULOUS women’s soccer team. i wish you were on our world cup team in Qatar. Outstanding performance by skilled athletes with remarkable teamwork. Our coach Westjohn deserves to be coach of the year.