Lincoln soccer season a success but no playoffs

Four seniors bid farewell
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Two ties and a loss in their final three games cost the Lincoln High girls soccer team a shot at the Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs but the season will still go down as a successful one for first-year coach Sandie Kepler.

Senior Night, the Fighting Zebras entered their final home contest one game ahead of Foothill. A win would have sealed a bid to the postseason for Lincoln but a determined Mustangs’ club had other ideas.

Still, the Zebras were relentless forcing Foothill’s goalkeeper to make 16 saves in the game in an all-out effort to win their final home game of the 2013 season. Sophomore Hayley Fleming took five shots on goal and junior Riley Sims attempted four but neither could find the net.

Seniors Madeline Brown and Celina Maldonado also got off a shot apiece but it just wasn’t to be as Foothill came away with a 1-0 victory scoring in the final half of play.

“I (was) expecting them to come out strong,” Kepler said of Foothill’s style of play. “They’re a very physical team.”

Junior goalkeeper Abbie Faingold had five saves in the match.

Lincoln’s last hope would have been a victory over Placer in their final regular-season game May 2. But the Lady Hillmen were able to hold on for a 1-1 tie while Foothill edged Center 1-0 in the Mustangs’ final contest.

Foothill secured the third playoff bid from the Pioneer Valley League with a 5-3-2 record and Lincoln concluded the year with a 4-3-3 league mark. Colfax and Placer finished 7-2-1 to share the PVL title.

“I would like to have a few more wins under our belt but I’m happy with the ties because we’re going to end the season above .500, which is good for me,” Kepler said before the Foothill match started. “We’ve lost some key defensive players this year that sort of hurt us a little bit.”

However, playing the season with four seniors, two freshmen and the rest juniors and sophomores on her 20-player squad bodes well for the program’s future. The junior varsity blanked the Mustangs 6-0 earlier in the day even with nine of their potential teammates playing for the varsity.

Kepler said the JV squad looked solid this season in spite of illness and injury taking its toll during the season. The coach said she was excited as the program moves forward

“I see a lot of good things happening,” Kepler said. We have a young team that is getting used to playing with each other. A lot of them will be returning next year so we’ll be able to build off of what we started this year.”

The seniors honored that evening were Maldonado, Brown, Carly Deweese and Melissa Arthurs.