By MARIA ANGULO
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team lost 3-0 to No. 1 Paradise Valley Community College in the Region I, Division I championship final on Oct. 29.
The road loss marked the third straight year that Pima (16-6-1) reached the finals without advancing to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.
The Pumas set the tone early, scoring three goals before the eight-minute mark.
The Aztecs played defense for much of the first half, and were outshot 12-9. Sophomore goalkeeper Daniela Sanchez finished with nine saves.
Pima mounted more shots on goal in the second half, but never scored.
Paradise Valley swept Pima this season. The Aztecs lost 1-0 on the road in the first game of the season, and fell 3-2 at Kino North Stadium in September.
Pima advanced to the championship game by beating the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Coyotes 2-1 on the road in an Oct. 26 semifinal game.
The Aztecs were the first to score in the 28th minute with a goal by sophomore Destiny Jones. The Coyotes tied the game with a goal in the 35th minute.
The game went to overtime, and the winning goal came in the 102th minute by Pima freshman Alexis Hernandez after an assist from sophomore Maury Urcadez.
“We worked for it and it feels like a dream,” Hernandez said. “It was a perfect ball from Maury. They were getting tired at the end of the second half and we got more chances. We just kept pounding.”
Sanchez ended the game with nine saves.
Pima advanced to the playoff semifinals on Oct. 24 with a 1-0 quarterfinal win over Glendale Community College.
The Aztecs ended the regular season with a 14-1-5 record.
Five Aztecs were recognized when the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference released its All-ACCAC women’s soccer team.
Urcadez was named first-team All ACCAC/All Region. Hernandez, Jones and Sanchez were named to the second team. Sophomore Sonia Garcia was honorable mention.
Oct. 24: PCC 1, Glendale CC, 0
Despite an hour-long weather delay, the Aztecs beat the Glendale Gauchos 1-0
Both teams had aggressive starts but Pima controlled the game.
“I think we dominated our half of the field,” Jones said. “We didn’t have much activity on our side and that definitely helped.”
Jones scored in the 25th minute with an assist from Hernandez.
“It feels good,” Jones said. “Our team as a whole work well together and it was nice to put it away.”
During the regular season, the Aztecs beat Glendale 2-0 and tied them Oct. 13 in a scoreless game.
Head coach Kendra Veliz said the rain delay affected the team a bit, but the team got the win it needed.
“We are happy to move on and we are excited to play Chandler-Gilbert in the semis,” she said.
Oct. 20: Pima 5, AWC 1
The Aztec closed the regular season with authority, beating the Matadors of Arizona Western College 5-1 at home.
After the Matadors scored first in the 35th minute, the Aztecs tied the game with a goal by Hernandez.
Pima dominated in the second half, scoring four times.
Jones scored with a penalty kick in the 54th minute and then again in the 75th minute off an assist from Urcadez.
Sophomore Shania Pablo scored in the 78th minute and freshman Nereida Sanchez scored the final goal in the 81st minute.
Sanchez ended the game with seven saves.
Before the game, sophomore players Sanchez, Jones, Pablo, Urcadez, Maria Delgadillo, Alexis Aguirre and Sonia Garcia were honored.
The Aztecs also celebrated the 20th year of the women’s soccer program with alumni from 1996 and 1997 in attendance. They included Amber Saarinen, Paige Watson, Christina Arredondo, April Valenzuela, Colleen Nagore and Lia Pierse.
Former assistant coaches Monique Vallery and Cynthia Saldamando were also present, as was former trainer Ben Carbajal.
This game marked the 200th win for head coach Kendra Veliz.
“What a great way for all of us to end the regular season, on our home field and with women who started the program in the stands,” Veliz said. “I’m happy the sophomores got this win on their day. I truly believe they deserved to have this moment.”
Oct. 18: PCC 1, Mesa CC 0
PCC beat Mesa Community College 1-0 in a home game at Kino North Stadium.
Freshman Daelyn Mayer scored in the 77th minute, off a corner kick from Urcadez. Pima outshot Mesa 9-5.
The Aztec swept the Thunderbirds this season, winning their previous game 4-1.
Oct. 13: PCC 0, Glendale CC 0
Pima traveled to Glendale Community College and ended with its first tie of the season. The Aztecs outshot the Gauchos 6-3 but neither team scored.
Earlier in the season, PCC beat Glendale by a 2-0 margin.