Women's Soccer Reaches Playoffs For 1st Time In 11 Years

Charlie Gallardo in action during the SCC Tournament (photo by Richard Quinton).
Charlie Gallardo in action during the SCC Tournament (photo by Richard Quinton).

It was a controversial turn in the seeding process, but the Pasadena City College women's soccer team made it into the postseason for the first since 2012. The Lancers were awarded the #14 seed and will play at #3 Mt. San Antonio this  Saturday night at 7 p.m. (Nov. 18) in Round 1 of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

After capturing third place in the South Coast Conference Tournament, the Lancers learned on Tuesday it was forfeiting tourney wins over Cerritos (was a 3-0 win on Nov. 3) and Rio Hondo (a 1-0 victory nullified from Nov. 10) due to a 3C2A by-law infraction. PCC played one more game over the limit of 22 contests. This takes the team's record from *16-3-4 down to 14-5-4. A power points rating is used to determine the seedings.

The Lancers played two non-scoring scrimmages that apparently counts toward the sports' game limit prior to the 2023 season and had played 20 regular season contests before their required participation in the SCC Tournament. Even though the a conference tournament counts as one game in the state by-laws, it still put the team over the limit at 23.

The 3C2A and Director Jennifer Cardone decided that since the team played in the tournament that all games in the tourney would have to be forfeited. PCC had lost a semifinal to Mt. San Antonio 5-0, on Nov. 7 so it was then forced to forfeit wins over below .500 Cerritos in the first round and v. Rio Hondo, the third place final.

The forfeits do not affect Coach Terryn Soelberg's team place in the SCC North Division, still at second with a 7-2 record as the placing was based on the team's initial SCC 9-game schedule. The tourney was designed to offer a chance for teams to gain possible power points by playing contests v. higher rated teams like Mt. SAC. Instead the tourney proved to be an odd negative result on a season that up to this point had been one of the best since the sport was brought into the college in 1997.

The infraction's punishment knocked a state #10-ranked team as of Nov. 6 out of hosting a first round match and now pits the Lancers against a Mt. SAC team that handed them two of their four actual defeats this season.

Statistics for the two forfeited games count as Charlie Gallardo scored two goals and Angie Grigoryan the other in the Cerritos contest. Francesca Agliolo made six saves for the shutout. Against Rio Hondo in a third place final at Long Beach City College, Hailey Hull scored the then game-winner in the 33rd minute as Agliolo collected five saves in team's defense 13th shutout of the year. Itzel Nunez and Destiny Delgado were a big part of the defense in most of those blankings.

This will be the 10th postseason game in the program's history (3-6 overall). In 2012, PCC lost to Santa Monica, 2-1 in overtime, in a first round home regional played off campus at Occidental College. The last road playoff by a PCC team occurred in 2007 in a 3-1 loss at San Diego Mesa. The Lancers last won in the postseason in 2001 when they defeated Rio Hondo, 2-1, in the opening round. The program reached the Round 2 quarterfinals in three straight years from 1999-2001. 

The infraction penalty is suprisingly not the most bizarre or worst punishment thrown at a Lancers women's soccer team. That happened in 2003 when the SCC imposed eight forfeits on PCC for what amounted to a clerical mistake. The Lancers exchanged printed rosters to their opponents and one player for PCC was wearing a different number (a 13 instead of a 12) than listed on the printed roster exchanged with conference teams all season. The team had no other #12 on the printed roster and despite the honest mistake, the conference imposed the heavy punishment.

A 12-6 season for the team and what would have been a SoCal Playoff seed was denied and the team's record was reduced to 4-14. In both cases, eligibility of a student-athlete was not in question, yet the punishments were severe for two Pasadena teams 20 years apart.

If PCC can upset Mt. SAC, it would face the winner of the #5 Santa Barbara City v. #12 Rio Hondo game in Round 2 on Tuesday, Nov. 21. 


 *--For historical purposes as the infractions were not eligibility related, the team's record will show an asterisk rather than the record posted in Presto.