The Lady Jags hosted the champions of De Anza league on February 21 at Jaguar Stadium. The Coachella Valley Arabs came into the game with a comfortable 4-0 win against Century HS in the first round. This would be the second league champion the Jags would meet in the post-season.
The CV side was ranked #8 in the CIF coaches’ poll and the Lady Jags were #9. What looked like an even affair on paper turned out to be so.
The Lady Jags unsettled the Arabs with their speed early, with Sam Nieves almost notching an early goal but was denied by the CV keeper. Sherly Godinez created many dangerous chances for the Cardinal-and-White and was clearly the home side’s most dangerous player.
Ifeoma Onyemelukwe once again showed her promise by having another stand out game, but the entire Jag back line did well to limit the visitor’s chances. When they did manage to get through, reserve goalkeeper Gennifer Barajas-Medina was up to the challenge and collected 8 saves on the day.
The chippy contest ended after two overtimes with neither team finding the net. It came down to kicks from the spot. The Jags were poised to win the contest but the result didn’t go their way. The Jags’ season ended with a heartwrenching 5-4 defeat on PKs in front of the largest crowd to ever witness a girls soccer game in OHS history.
Although disappointed in the games’ result, the Lady Jags found encouragement in the progress they made as a team. The ever fleeting goal of qualifying for CIF was realized this season. The girls played a first round CIF on the road in a stay over game and came away winners. The girls finished the season ranked in the CIF top ten. They took all three Mt. Baldy League champions to overtime and fought them to almost even games.
With very good seniors graduating, the program could look at rebuilding program. But with four promising freshmen, and three battle-tested sophomores looking at starting spots, the Lady Jags could be looking at years of high-level soccer. The Class of 2017 leave the team in good hands and raised the bar for their teammates.