COSTA MESA — Orange Coast College women's soccer coach Kevin Smith believes the tangible difference between his Pirates and the top teams in the state may be equal to the miniscule separation between a tie and a loss in Tuesday's Orange Empire Conference setback to visiting Cypress.
In other words, about four inches.
The estimated four-inch width of the crossbar was all that kept OCC (9-5-2, 8-3-1 in conference) away from drawing even with the Chargers (13-1-3, 9-1-2), who held on for a 1-0 triumph. The victory helps Cypress build a four-point advantage in the standings (three points awarded for a win and one for a tie) over the third-place Pirates.
OCC, with four conference matches, faces an uphill battle to match Cypress and first-place Santiago Canyon in the final standings.
OCC sophomore scoring leader Taryn Bales ripped a left-footed blast from the top of the 18-yard box that clearly had Cypress goalkeeper Chelsea Broghamer beat. But the ball sailed flush onto the front of the crossbar and caromed back toward the field in the 73rd minute.