Women's Soccer: Pirates fall to Hawks

OCC's seven-game winning streak is halted by top-ranked Santiago Canyon on Tuesday.

October 16, 2012|By Barry Faulkner

ORANGE — To reach the Santiago Canyon College soccer field, one must weave through a meandering campus, ascend five stories of stairs and follow a path lined with marshy bushes to a fenced-in plateau that seems to sit atop the horizon like a sod-covered cloud.

For visitors, the ascent is apropos.

It is thus, because the host Hawks women's team has hovered atop the Orange Empire Conference since the first of their eight straight titles in 2004. This season, all Santiago Canyon has done is refuse to lose.

The Hawks, ranked No. 1 in the state, took a 3-0 lead on their way to a 3-1 victory over visiting Orange Coast on Tuesday, putting additional separation between themselves and remaining title contenders Cypress and OCC.


The Pirates (11-3, 7-3 in conference) entered Tuesday on a seven-game winning streak during which it had outscored opponents a combined 28-1. The Pirates knocked off Cypress, ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 3 in Southern California on Friday, avenging a first-round loss to the Chargers.

OCC fell to Santiago Canyon, 2-0, in their first meeting Sept. 14.

Now, OCC Coach Kevin Smith hopes his team will get another crack at the Hawks (13-0-1, 9-0-1), who won state titles in 2009 and 2006, a national title in 2009, and reached the state title match in 2011 and 2007.

"It would be in the playoffs," Smith said of a potential rematch with the Hawks, who ended OCC's season after the Pirates posted two playoff upsets last fall.

Making the postseason, however, could be dicey for the Pirates, who are unranked and, due to a power-point system similar to a Ratings Percentage Index used in NCAA sports, vulnerable for a playoff snub.

"Really, the biggest challenge is getting enough power points at this point to be able to get in the playoffs," Smith said. "I feel that if we want to be guaranteed a playoff spot, we have to win out, and we need a couple of teams that are below .500 in our conference to get above .500."

With the win, Santiago Canyon, which has outscored opponents 46-7 this season, has 28 points in the conference standings (three points for a win and one for a tie). OCC has 21 points with six conference matches remaining.

Cypress entered Tuesday with 22 points.

But, of the six opponents OCC has left, none had an overall record that was better than .500 and only Golden West (at 4-4-1 heading into Tuesday) was at least breaking even in conference play.

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