LTCC Lady Coyotes suffer heartbreaking loss in state semifinals |

LTCC Lady Coyotes suffer heartbreaking loss in state semifinals

Lake Tahoe's Melanie Ara competes Friday against Mesa.
Diane Lewis / LTCC

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe Community College qualified for the state soccer tournament two years in a row, and for the second straight year came home with a heartbreaking loss.

The Lady Coyotes were defeated 1-0 Friday by San Diego Mesa in the California Community College Athletic Association state semifinals in Cupertino, Calif.

Mesa’s goal came in them 85th minute, an own goal that was accidently put into their own net by the Coyotes.

“Soccer is a cruel, cruel game sometimes, but for the very reasons it’s cruel also makes it such a beautiful game,” said Coyotes head coach Jeremy Evans. “I don’t know what the reason is for this loss yet, and maybe we won’t know for years or decades what that is, but I’m sure there is one. As confusing as it sounds, sometimes young people learn more about themselves in losses than in wins. And maybe there’s some solace in that.”

The Lady Coyotes suffered defeat last year in the state championship game when a controversial free kick was awarded late and their opponents converted the opportunity.

“This amazing group of young ladies deserved better, and perhaps that meant a state title, but the reality is you don’t get a chance at a state title without intense commitment and hard work, not just to themselves but to the team,” Evans said. “Those values are prerequisites for success, not a guarantee, but they’re important values to adopt regardless.”

Lake Tahoe was better team in the first half, displaying why it was the top seed entering the tournament.

Alex Trinidad had a great chance at the net and Nicole Bumgarner had another one right before the half.

Angie Hurtado and Melanie Ara got into dangerous positions but a goal never came.

“At halftime we just felt we needed to make a few tweaks to find a goal,” Evans said. “But as the game wore on, Mesa grew more confidence and ramped up their pressure on us and that disrupted our flow. Credit to them for that. I had hoped we would have responded differently. Ultimately, an own goal with just minutes left was the deciding factor. And that’s usually how it works at this stage. Last year it was a free kick that should’ve never been awarded that ended our season, and this year … ”

LTCC (21-1-2) enjoyed another amazing year and have put three straight seasons together, making them among the best programs in the state.

The Coyotes were ranked No. 1 nationally for about two months and hold a 57-4-9 record over the three years of dominance.

They have claimed three straight Golden Valley Conference titles and have outscored opponents 216-4 in league games.

“As a coach, I think our players, could stomach being outplayed and conceding goals in the run of play, but these situations are head scratchers,” EVans said. “But I’m so proud of this team and thankful for how the community rallied behind them. South Lake Tahoe is a soccer town, and our institution and community make this a special place to play college soccer. This team has helped add to that legacy and they’ll remember this experience forever. I’m disappointed how the season ended the way it did, but we have a bright future and so do all of these student athletes.”

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