Amazing Zebras to host first round of soccer playoffs

El Camino comes to town
By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports Editor
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Although a win or a loss against Colfax in the final game of the regular season would have made no difference either way, the Lincoln High girls soccer team battled the Pioneer Valley League champions before falling 1-0, last week. The loss dropped the Fighting Zebras record to 5-3-1 in league and 11-5-4 overall, but as PVL runners up, they enter the Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs as the league?s No. 2 seed. They will be pitted against the Capital Athletic League?s No. 3 seed, El Camino. The Eagles (5-3-2, 11-5-3 overall) squeezed past Whitney High for the postseason spot. ?El Camino is real tough; but that league is tough,? said Lincoln head soccer coach Jason Treanor during practice. ?El Camino has almost an identical record as we do and their whole team plays club (soccer).? Fielding a young team with a number of sophomore starters, Treanor wasn?t sure how well his club would fare this year. The PVL is always strong and many of his senior players didn?t really have much experience coming in. Still, they began the preseason winning five of their first seven games. When league began, they were 6-2-2 and opened with a decisive 2-0 win over Bear River. The Bruins finished third in the PVL race. The Zebras then rolled off three more league wins, including a 1-0 decision over Placer. Although Lincoln couldn?t get past Colfax, the Falcons couldn?t beat Bear River (two ties). The Zebras posted a win and a tie against the Bruins. ?The sophomores had to step it up,? said Treanor. ?I mean, I start seven so it was baptism by fire and they had to step it up quick. It took us a while to gel.? Among those sophomores is Alyssa Gallagher with six goals on the season, nine assists and 47 shots on goal. Fellow sophomore Alexandra Kent has three goals, two assists and 40 shots for her season totals. The Zebras? goalie Abbie Faingold is also a sophomore serving up nine shutouts. Faingold gave up 17 goals in 20 matches. ?We had a game plan. We played some tough teams like McClatchy and they?re a pretty tough team,? Treanor said of his preseason schedule. ?Roseville we gave a good game and that?s how we made our kids believe they could hang with the tougher teams.? Leading in goals scored was Melissa Arthurs with eight. The junior forward also had five assists and took 46 shots on goal. Junior Carly Deweese and senior Celina Maldonado each had four goals and five assists. Combined, they took 80 shots on goal during the season. In the first game against Colfax, Arthurs, Deweese and Gallagher had two shots on goal each. The team totaled 10 and Faingold made 15 saves in the match. In the last match, the Zebras got off 13 shots with Natalie Franco, Alexandra Kent, Arthurs, Gallagher and Maldonado all taking two shots apiece. The defense also improved as Faingold had to make only a dozen saves with just one getting by. ?Defense wins championships,? said Treanor. ?If you look at the national team women, players that led the league in scoring on the national team are the best defenders.? One of the big challenges now will be trying to keep the girls focused. The end of the school year is coming up with finals in the wings; spring fever doesn?t help much either. Treanor credited his assistants George Bonilla and Bill Fraser as being a big part of the program?s success. Last fall the boys soccer team also went to the playoffs and the junior varsity team was 9-1 in league and 21-2-2 overall. This year?s girls JV team was 8-1-1 in the PVL and finished 18-2-1 overall. ?It?s kind of nice, two for two (playoffs). I like that. That?s good success,? Treanor said. ?Part of it is the players have to trust you. The parents have to trust you. It?s tough at times but they?re a good bunch of kids.? Pioneer Valley League Standings Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs Team W L T Pct GB Colfax 8 0 2 .900 - Lincoln 5 3 2 .600 3 Bear River 4 3 3 .550 4 Playoffs: Lincoln Hosts El Camino, 7 p.m. Thursday Lincoln High School Stadium