by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
Taft College lost its final Central Valley Conference women's soccer to Fresno last Friday but made the playoffs.
That's the good news.
The bad news is the Cougars will have to play No. 1 and undefeated Fresno again.
The Cougars are 16th in the northern California women's soccer power rankings.
"We will play Fresno again on Saturday," said Cougar coach Myisha Cutrona.Â Start time had not been determined by deadline.
Despite having the play No. 1 again on the Rams home turf, she thinks her team is in a good spot to pull off an upset.
"I think we can beat them if we secure the back and have a good game from our goalkeeper," she said.Â "I thought we played well on Friday despite the score."
The Cougars lost 6-1 to a team that is one of the best scoring teams in the state.Â The Rams have scored five or more goals nine times and beat the third place conference team (West Hills-Lemoore) twice by scores of 10-0 and 12-0.
The Cougars lost to Fresno 2-0 when the teams played in Taft in the first round of CVC play.
"I actually thought we played better on Friday except for the mistakes we made in the back that they took advantage of.Â I think we can work out those issues before Saturday and hopefully give them a better game."
Defending CVC champion Fresno finished there regular season at 19-0-2.Â Ironically, the Rams record is identical to the Taft College men's team, which is No. 1 in the men's power rankings.
On the women's side Fresno also is tops in the state in power rankings.
The Cougar women finished the season 12-7-2 overall and 4-2 for second place in the CVC.
"I'm excited we are getting another shot at them," Cutrona said.
In Friday's regular season finale, the high scoring Rams put the match away early with four goals in the first half â€" the first two coming in the 34th and 36th minutes with the last two coming late (42nd and 45th).
Before those two quick goals the Cougars were playing well, Cutrona said, but again those mistakes and subpar goalkeeping hampered the effort.
Salina Chacon and Alexia Gonzalez combined to score the lone Cougar goal five minutes into the second half before the Rams polished it off with goals in the 83rd and 87th minutes.
Rianna Chavez had a hat trick to lead the Rams, who scored five goals or more nine times this season.Â Chavez is the sixth highest scorer in the state with 21 goals.
TC's Celia Rangel scored 20 goals (9th in state) and added 12 assists to finish fifth in total points.
Goal-happy Cerritos College, the top seed in the south, led the state in scoring with 121 goals and gave up just three.