by Cerritos College Sports Information
Whenever a team wins a championship, they are usually a target of each opponent, who are looking to be the one to knock off the best team. For the last four years, the Cerritos College women's soccer team has been a target, as the Falcons finished off winning their fourth straight CCCAA State Championship on Sunday. Cerritos (23-0-3) defeated Rio Hondo College, 3-0 at De Anza College, which also improved their post-season winning streak to 20 games. The four state titles ties Long Beach City (2000-03) as the only schools to win four straight state championships.
Having a target on their back game in and game out is what motivates head coach Ruben Gonzalez, who stated after the game, "We don't rest. I'm sure on the bus home, the coaches and I are probably going to talk about next year. It's an addictive culture - winning. We always know it's important to win as many games as possible during the season because it gives us a higher seed for the playoffs and more home games. We're a different team at home and it puts us in a better position to be here playing for a state title."
The Falcons put themselves in good position against the Roadrunners (17-2-4), as they got on the board in the fifth minute. On the play, freshman Carolina Jaramillo (Cetis 58, Tijuana HS) received the ball along the sideline from sophomore Gabi Lamb (Yorba Linda HS). Once she got the ball, Jaramillo (pictured, right) used her speed and ball control to get around a pair of defenders and sent the ball to freshman Natalie deLeon (St. Joseph HS), who scored past Rio Hondo goalkeeper Christina Holguin.
"The first goal really helped me to relax," said freshman goalkeeper Ruby Nichols (Bishop Amat HS), who made seven saves to post the shutout. "It helped me slow my nerves and allowed me to regain my composure. Even after a made a couple of saves in the first half, I felt more involved in the game and it helped me relax."
The vaunted Cerritos offense continued to put pressure on the Roadrunner defense, who were packed in trying to prevent a crucial second goal. In the 32nd minute, freshman Amber Whitmore (Los Alamitos HS) found freshman Jamie Peters (Bishop Amat HS) with a quick pass. Not wasting any time, Peters fed a wide open Jaramillo, who was faced with only the goalkeeper. One quick move opened the net for Jaramillo and she scored her team-high 27th goal of the season.
"For the entirety of the season, I always want to put the team first," said Jaramillo. "My objective when I came to Cerritos was to win a championship and we accomplished it."
When the announcement during the final ceremonies were made, Jaramillo wasn't sure why all of her teammates were cheering for her. She had just been named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after accounting for three goals and two assists in the two Falcons wins. "I heard my name and had no idea what was going on," added Jaramillo.
Jaramillo closed out the scoring in the 86th minute after Rio Hondo was called for a red card after a hard foul against Whitmore in the 18-yard box. She stepped up and converted the penalty kick, which secured the team's title.
One of the main anchors in the team recording the shutout was third-year sophomore Malia Tilton (El Modena HS). Forced to sit out last season due to an injury, Tilton said she came back this season with a purpose.
"It was really difficult last season not being able to contribute," said Tilton, who went 47-0-4 in her two seasons on the field. "Having that extra year made me stronger mentally and physically, so when the game started, I was more composed. I used having to watch last year as a motivating factor for this season. Being named the captain was an honor and I accepted that leadership role and helped all of the new players in the back row learn our system."
"This was a young team, so we had a longer learning curve when it came to knowing how to play better as a team," added Gonzalez. "We seemed to progress throughout the season and it all culminated with our fourth straight state championship."
BY THE NUMBERS
6 - State Championships (2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
23 - Wins this season (school record of 24 were set in 2007, 2013, 2014)
44 - Current unbeaten streak (41-0-3 dating back to 2014)
3 - Unbeaten seasons (2008 (22-0-4); 2013 (24-0-1); 2015 (23-0-3))
71 - Wins in the last three seasons (71-1-4)
93 - Wins in the last four seasons (93-3-6)
5 - Number of sophomores on this year's team
20 - Post-season winning streak (have not lost since 1-0 game in 1st Round of 2011 playoffs)
Complete regional results and state championship brackets can be found below.