LTCC women claims 3rd straight GVC title; Coyotes top seed for playoffs that start Saturday at home
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Lady Coyotes stormed through the regular season and are in a prime spot for another run at a state championship.
Lake Tahoe Community College this week was named the top seed in an 18-team bracket for the California Community College Athletic Association Northern Regional tournament that begins this weekend on home turf.
The Lady Coyotes (18-0-2) will host the winner between No. 18 West Valley and No. 15 West Hills at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The No. 1 seed is the best ranking ever for the mens’ or womens’ programs. The previous best was a No. 3 by the women in 2017.
LTCC finished the season by wrapping up its third straight Golden Valley Conference title and then thumped Bay Valley Conference champ, and playoff No. 11 seed, Los Medanos 3-0 Nov. 14 in the regular season finale.
“The Los Medanos game was a nice challenge for us,” said Coyotes head coach Jeremy Evans. “It was beneficial to get out of conference play and get pushed around a bit and tested physically against a conference champion and playoff team. I thought we responded well after the initial shock of ‘Oh, this team will get tough and not let us possess the ball without pressure.’”
The No. 1 seed could mean three home games if the Coyotes keep winning. With three victories they qualify as one of the final four teams for the state tournament.
“As a program and institution, we couldn’t be more ecstatic about being a No. 1 seed and hosting games in the playoffs, it’s a big deal,” Evans said. “We feel we have the biggest home field advantage in the state. Some of that has to do with playing at altitude, but a lot of it is the players are energized by the community support and how much people care about soccer. That being said, we will have a serious challenge on Saturday against West Valley or West Hills. Although it’s an advantage being the top seed, it’s a bit of a disadvantage not knowing who we are going to play until Thursday since we only have one day to prepare Yet, we’re fit, excited and motivated to enter the playoffs healthy and determined to win.”
LTCC has enjoyed another amazing year, a second straight unbeaten regular season.
They finished the year as the top ranked team in the state and nation, both program firsts. They have sat on top of the national poll for the past six weeks.
They have won the last 32 league games and have outscored opponents 216-4 during that span.
The Coyotes scored 97 goals this year, second best in the state, led by Alexandra Trinidad who scored 26 goals and had 10 assists for 62 points, the fourth best total in California.
Lauren Wolcott tallied 17 goals and six assists, third best on the team with 40 points behind Angie Hurtado who netted 16 goals and 12 assists (44 points), which ranks in the top 10, and Nicole Bumgarner has 10 goals giving the Coyotes four players in double digits.
Bella Wakeling, at left back, finished third in the state with 15 assists, and led the conference in that category.
The Coyotes have posted 12 shutouts in 20 games.
LTCC kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday. If the Coyotes win, they will play at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Win again and they play at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, for a state berth.
“It’s been a privilege working with such a committed group of women all season,” Evans said. “Being No. 1 in the country for six weeks, winning another conference title, and being ranked No. 1 in the state, those things are just a byproduct of being the hardest working team on the field every day in training and in the games. The regular season had many accomplishments, but those are all to prepare us for the journey ahead. Hopefully we bring that same mentality on Saturday in front of our home fans and extend the season as long as possible.”