Lady Bear Cubs advance to playoffs

James L. Alban, Sports Editor

As an objective sports writer, one must avoid sugar coating mediocre performances. A sports writer must address all issues of a team, both on and off the field. Pinpointing weaknesses of a team needing improvement and criticizing coaching decisions and player performances are all in a day’s work for a sports journalist.

The same rules and guidelines must be applied when covering the SRJC women’s soccer team, the only thing is, when the team is ranked number one in California, has not lost a game all season and just clinched a fourth consecutive Big 8 Conference title, criticism and insight are replaced by praise and adoration.

Last Tuesday’s game against Sacramento City was nothing out of the ordinary for the Lady Bear Cubs, the consistent rain and play from SRJC throughout the entire game fatigued their opponents early and the Lady Bear Cubs swiftly defeated the Panthers 6-0.

It didn’t take long for Cara Curtin to score. The freshman from Maria Carrillo headed in an assist from her sister Lauren Curtin to give SRJC the early 1-0 lead.

Scoring is something Cara has been quite accustomed to throughout the season. Curtin has scored 23 goals this season, 15 goals last month and was later named the Big 8 Conference’s Student Athlete of the Month for October. Curtin is currently the fifth ranked field player in the state and is ranked number one in the Big 8 Conference.

In the game against Sac City, Cara proved she could pass as well. She had an assist to her sister Lauren, which gave SRJC a 2-0 lead.

SRJC dominated that first half. They controlled the tempo from the get-go and took advantage of slow defenders. Two more goals by sophomore Captain Katie Deneau gave SRJC a 4-0 lead and the Panthers went into halftime looking wet and defeated.

It became clear in the second half why the Lady Bear Cubs are the number one team in the state: they are relentless. The Panthers came out in the second half looking as if they couldn’t wait to get out of the rain; meanwhile, the Bear Cubs came out playing like it was still a scoreless game. SRJC had a 4-0 lead, and they played just as hard in the second half, as they did in the first.

Goals in the second half by Jazmine Whitlock and Lauren Romano gave SRJC a 6-0 lead. The Lady Bear Cubs aggressiveness, the intensity they have played with this entire season was too much to handle for Sacramento City.

This win improved the SRJC women’s soccer team’s conference record to 10-0-3, and their overall record to 13-0-5.

It’s clear that SRJC has no problem scoring, but not enough credit is given to their defense. The Lady Bear Cubs play fast, and they are physical. Freshman Lisa Shaw and Selam Solomon have had huge impacts this season in the midfield, and Cpt. Deneau has taken over the role as the veteran team leader.

From the start of the season SRJC Head Coach Emiria Salzmann’s initial goal has been to unite her team. As the regular season winds down and the playoffs are on the horizon, it’s evident that these players are committed to winning, and they respect each other. This team’s dedication to their coach and to each other make them a very scary contender in the playoffs.

The women’s soccer team will play in round one of the Nor-Cal Playoff Saturday, Nov. 20.