By Gracia Hernandez Rovelo
Anticipating a tough match, the City College Rams secured a 2-1 win over the robust nature of the No. 1-seeded San Joaquin Delta squad on Tuesday, Nov. 21, in Round 2 of Northern California Regional Playoffs.
In the match, the Rams fell behind 1-0 after Delta scored a well-timed goal 39 minutes into the first half. Despite the even nature of the match until that point, the City College coaching staff emphasized resilience. While the team responded well, there were tactical adjustments in the second half. Eighty-one minutes into the game, Rams forward Paige Pineda Aliamus (16) scored a crucial goal from a free kick, equalizing the score at 1-1 by the end of regulation.
As per CCCAA rules, the game proceeded to two 15-minute overtime periods, and according to Head Coach Jeff Wilson, the possibility of penalty kicks loomed if the tie persisted after overtime. Unfortunately, a couple of Rams players had to leave the game due to minor injuries during overtime. The second overtime period was intense and physical, but with eight minutes remaining, the Rams’ captain, Fatima Waldo Garcia (22), scored a decisive free kick from 40 yards out, securing a 2-1 lead and the game win.
Regarding the upcoming challenge, Head Coach Wilson expects Cosumnes River to be a difficult opponent, similar to the teams faced in previous playoffs. “They made it as far as we have, and they are going to be good,” he said. “They’re a very tough and physical team, but the way we’ve played in our schedule and the way I lined it up, especially in non-league, we are ready for it.”
Managing injuries and player fitness during the demanding playoffs schedule was approached with a balanced philosophy. Coach Wilson emphasized, “I am very conscientious that rest is needed throughout the season, so we do a good balance of pushing them hard but also giving them opportunities for recovery days.” Highlighting the team’s depth and readiness for players to step up when needed, he added, “That’s something that we did really well against Delta; our level of play didn’t drop, which is a very good thing.”
City College Rams’ Round 3 of Northern California Regional Playoffs will be held at Cosumnes River on Saturday, Nov. 25.