Photo by Ed Beyer PhD
OCEANSIDE - The Marauder women's soccer team earned the 17th seed at the Southern California Regionals and will travel to Oceanside to square off against MiraCosta, Thursday afternoon at 2pm.
It marks the third playoff game for the Marauders in their 18-year history and the first since 2011. All three have been on the road. AVC lost to Ventura 2-1 in overtime in 2009, and were shutout by Canyons 2-0 in 2011.
AVC advanced to the post season after finishing third in the Western State Conference-East Division. The Marauders only had a 2-3-3 record in conference, but finished with an impressive overall record of 9-5-4. The Spartans earned their bid with a 12-7-2 overall record and are red hot in their last 10 matches with a 7-2-1 record. AVC is 4-3-3 in its last 10 matches.
"It's all about moving forward at this point. We wouldn't be a team if we were perfect (throughout the season)," AVC's Lindsey McDermott said. "We're very excited to be going to the post season, but I'm not really surprised though. I expected this with (Charles) Gordon as our coach. I kind of wish we had this excitement earlier in the season, but the girls are excited and determined."
The winner advances to the second round with a date with top-seeded Santa Barbara, which after an uncharacteristic tie in its first match of the season has won 17 consecutive matches.
AVC brings its high-octane offense which has scored 55 goals this season ranking it 21st in the state. The Marauders have six players score at least five goals or more this season lead by Alyssa Sanchez' 13. Rielly Rasmussen is second on the team with eight and McDermott, Katie Arnold and Lynnette Diaz each have six.
"We're all super excited for the opportunity. We know we could have done better in conference, but that's behind us now and it's a new season," Arnold said. "We've been working really hard to earn a spot state. We might have lost a little bit of focus in conference, but we have a really good conference. and teams are competitive each match. I feel like since we found out that we made playoffs, we see a change in our team. We're going to take this opportunity and run with it."
The Marauders' offense will be tested against the Spartans' defense, which only allows a little more than one goal per game. AVC averages just over three goals per game ranking it 16th in the state. MiraCosta is led by Jenna Heatherly who finished with nine goals on the regular season.
Both AVC and MiraCosta have a common opponent on their resume. Both teams lost 1-0 to No. 9 Santa Monica earlier this season.