Nov. 15, 2012, 4:40 p.m.

Eagles national appearance cut short

The Laramie County Community College women’s soccer team closed its season Nov. 15 with a 0—4 loss to No. 2 Paradise Valley Community College of Phoenix during pool play at the national tournament in Melbourne, Fla.

Eagles fall behind from start

Being harassed by sophomore Ali Doller of Paradise Valley, who scored two first-half goals, the Eagles fell behind 3—0 at the break and couldn’t find a way to climb out of the hole. Ashley Johnson buried any positive ideas the Eagles had going into the second half, scoring the fourth and final goal of the game early in the second half.

The season-ending loss followed a 3—2 win over No. 11—seeded Louisburg College of North Carolina during the first day of pool play Nov. 13. Falling behind midway through the first half in 16 minutes, the Eagles recovered late in the half with their own goal and finished the match with two goals in a three-minute span of the second half. The Eagles gave up a late goal; but it did not make a difference. Following the win Head Coach Jim Gardner showed his approval of Louisburg. He said: "We haven't played anybody that put nine behind the ball. That's difficult. They had it nailed. We were trying to go through the middle. We were trying to hit things on the outside. We make one mistake, and then it's tough.”

First return to nationals since 2010

Leading up to the national tournament, the No. 7—ranked LCCC women’s soccer team earned its first birth to the national tournament since 2010, defeating North Idaho College Nov. 2, 2—1 and No. 17-ranked Otero Junior College 3—0 on Nov. 3. Leading off the regional championship game in style, the Eagles scored two goals within a six-minute span in the first half to take the lead. The first goal of the game came in the 22nd minute when Maria Francisca Mardones lofted a pass from Francesca Ali past Otero goalkeeper Sam McCurley. The second goal, six minutes later, was set up similar to the first, as Mardones passed to Sayit Yeneysa Mejia Bello for the same result.

After the quick start, the Golden Eagles finished the second half with a goal from freshman Taylor Hockley.

On defense, LCCC goalie Marissa Schultz finished with six saves including two saves during a free kick by Brittney Lace, which included a rebound shot by a second player.

Following the district championship game, LCCC head coach Gardner looked back to the beginning of the game and said he knew his team had to get off to a good start in order to make a statement, and that is exactly what happened.

Looking back on season

Flashing back to some of the regular season highlights, the win over Otero Junior College on Oct. 19 was by far one that fans look back at after losing to Otero on Sept. 29 on the road in the only conference loss of the season. Other highlights of the season consisted of the 2—1 win over then seventh—ranked Iowa Lakes and a scoring burst in its 11—1 win over Western Wyoming Community College Sept. 16.

The most positive idea or action taken from the season is the Eagles showed why they will be a team to be reckoned with in fall 2013, losing just five sophomores. Returning to the beginning of the season, coach Gardner previewed the season saying it was more than this year’s team, but the main body work of the 2013 team.