By Carlos Alvarez
The East Los Angeles College women’s soccer team defeated defending state champion Cerritos College, 1-0, Sept. 30 at home in Weingart Stadium.
With much of the game a defensive battle, ELAC forward Carla Quijada scored the lone goal in dramatic fashion.
Quijada took the ball midfield, passed Cerritos defender Alex Kidd and beat Cerritos goalkeeper Adrianna Salazar for the score at the 76th minute mark.
“It was an incredible goal. It was for my teammates. It was for them. It felt like we had won the championship, since we were playing the defending champ,” Quijada said in Spanish.
With the Huskies ahead with ten minutes remaining in the game Cerritos went on the attack, but ELAC goalkeeper Arlien Sanchez was a wall at goal denying Cerritos the equalizer and preserving the victory.
“Our defense was great. We played as a team and we won as a team. My teammates kept pushing me and helped me stay positive,” Sanchez said.
ELAC, 4-2-1 overall and 1-0 in the South Coast Conference, kicked off conference play with the stunning win against Cerritos (6-1, 0-1).
The Huskies continue SCC play this Friday on the road against El Camino College (1-7, 0-1) who enters the match with a six-game losing streak.
It was a game of two different halves with Cerritos on constant attack in the first behind the play of midfielder Jill Messersmith and forward Ashley Anaya-Webb, while ELAC had few shots at goal with no true offensive attack.
With the intensity growing in the first half ELAC defender Diana Ruiz began to vomit at the 35th minute mark, but returned to the field of play shortly after.
“She (Ruiz) works really hard. When she blows her watt up to a certain point she kind of gets a panic attack, but she returned and played well for us,” ELAC Assistant Coach Richard Coria said.
In the second half ELAC made some adjustments in their game plan that opened up more scoring opportunities.
“We kept our forward on top, giving us more chances of counterattacking. We actually remained focused on our defense,” ELAC Head Coach Tessa Troglia said.
According to Quijada the team played up to their level in the second half and that they played to win.
“They (Cerritos) won three state championships, we want to get where they are. Today was like winning a championship, but we have a lot more work to do,” Quijada said in Spanish.