After wrapping up their fourth consecutive Coast Conference North Division championship, the Rams have rolled through the first three rounds of the playoffs, outscoring their foes by a combined score of 14-2, including an 8-1 thrashing of Taft College on Saturday that clinched a berth into the final four.
“Scoring first like we did really helped our confidence and momentum,” CCSF coach Gabriel Saucedo said. “Taft is the type of team that [if they] get the lead, they would have been really difficult to score on.”
The Rams are led by freshman forward Paloma Zermeno (James Logan High School), who scored a conference-best 32 goals, freshman Raquel Herrera, who had a league-leading 12 assists and freshman goalie Hannah Ball, who recorded a .862 save percentage this season, which also was tops in the Coast Conference North.
Sophomore Ashly Dickinson finished second on the team with 22 goals.
“For the most part, everybody has stepped up,” Saucedo said. “Doesn’t matter if it has been a sophomore or freshman, it has been a group contribution, which I’m really happy about.”
CCSF (19-2-2), the No. 1 seed in the North, hasn’t lost since Sept. 15, when it fell 2-1 to Cerritos College. But the Rams’ foe in the state semifinals is accustomed to be playing at this point of the season.
Santiago Canyon College (20-1-2), which won the state championship in 2009, has come up short in the past two CCCAA championships, which has Saucedo and his team’s full attention.
“This is their third final four in a row and they have a good history of being in the [final four],” Saucedo said. “I think we’re ready for this, we’re playing our best soccer right now, and I expect it to be a really good game.”
Saucedo has made adjustments due to injuries to get the most out of the 2013 team, which he believes will be ready Friday.
“Every year is different,” Saucedo said. “Two years ago we were deep and didn’t have any injuries. This year we’re a bit banged up and we have to take that into consideration with our practices this week. We can’t afford to lose any players. We’ll keep that in mind as the week progresses and be ready to go.”
State final four
At Cosumnes River College
CCSF vs. Santiago Canyon College
Foothill vs. Cerritos
Semifinal winners, 10 a.m.