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Bruins top Thunder for section crown

Ponderosa seems to have Rocklin’s number
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High and Ponderosa were one minute from penalty kicks Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division II soccer championship match at Folsom High. The teams had battled for about 100 minutes in the heat and the second, 10-minute overtime period was nearly complete when Ponderosa junior Allison James scored the lone goal of the match. Surrounded by Rocklin defenders, James popped a right-footed shot from just under 20 yards out that barely floated in under the crossbar. The goal gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead and a minute later Ponderosa won the section championship. Again. Ponderosa has won three section titles in the last six years and all three titles have come against the Thunder. The Bruins, who have reached the section finals six years in a row, topped the Thunder 4-0 in 2003 and 3-0 in 2005 in title matches. Ponderosa also ended Rocklin’s seasons in 2006 and 2007, with 3-2 victories in the first round of the playoffs. The victory in 2006 was eerily similar to Saturday’s match as Ponderosa broke a tie score with a goal in overtime with about one minute remaining before the match headed to penalty kicks. “That’s the same goal they have scored on us the last two years,” said Rocklin senior goalie Lauren Coiner about James’ goal. “This definitely hurts worse (because it’s Ponderosa).” Coiner’s soccer career is not over as she will play at the Naval Academy but she will definitely miss her Rocklin teammates. “This team is just so tight - we’ve been around each other so much for all these years,” said Coiner, who made several strong saves Saturday. Rocklin coach Chuck Barr could hardly believe that Ponderosa was able to score at the end. “It looked like we had three of our players there and then (James) got a foot on it,” he said. “Give Pondo credit. They work really hard and they had enough left in the tank to get a goal at the end of the game. “I think we had more than the balance of chances. I kept telling (his players) that we need that little extra effort or that little extra focus or that little extra something.” Despite the heart-breaking loss Barr was able to focus on what a successful season the Thunder had. “This was a special group of seniors,” said Barr, referring to Steph Manstch, Macie Kukrall, Leah Crawford, Patty Carman, Kelly Kinsella and Coiner. “It was still a good year for us – a league championship in one of the toughest leagues in the area.” The future appears to be bright as well. “I have six very good freshmen and one sophomore (Becca Anderson) that I brought up from the JV,” Barr said.