With her team up 4-3 in penalty kicks after 120 minutes of soccer and nothing separating the two teams, sophomore midfielder Nicole Caiocca was one kick away from sending her team to Sacramento to play in the state championship.
She looked down at the ball, followed through with no hesitation and rocketed it through the net.
The kick gave City College the win over Fresno City College 5-3 in penalty kicks during a third round game of the NorCal Playoffs.
The game was close throughout, with CCSF behind or tied the entire game until the penalty kicks, but head coach Gabe Saucedo knew his team was prepared for a match like this one.
“What a win, it was just draining for everybody coaches and players involved, it was just a total team effort,” Saucedo said. “ I was confident during the PK’s, we’ve been practicing it for about two weeks straight, trying to put the PK takers in pressure situations and it all paid off our keeper came up with a huge save everyone executed their PK’s just like we worked on, it felt good to watch.”
Freshman goal keeper Lilly Garza made the only save of the penalty kick shootout which allowed Caiocca to kick the game winning score.
“We have been practicing that all week,” Caiocca said. “Once Lily made that save there was a lot of pressure off.”
The defensive play continued into both extra time periods and CCSF missed an opportunity in the 115th minute to end the game. They earned a corner kick and as it was sent into the box, two shots opened up back to back right in front of the net with Fresno blocking both.
Fresno was able to earn a couple corner kicks as well towards the end, but were unable to take advantage.
“Fresno it a really tough team, It was hard coming back from 1-0 but we were able to get it done,” Caiocca said. “This is our house.”
The City College Rams (20-1-2) will face Santiago Canyon College (21-1-1) on Dec. 2nd in Sacramento in the State Semi-Finals.
Santiago Canyon won their regional playoff game against the Orange Coast Pirates 2-1 to advance. This will be Santiago’s forth trip to the State Final Four in the last six seasons. The winner will go on to play in the state championship game Dec. 4th.