Whitney’s playoff bid falls short after tie with El Camino

Seniors bid fans farewell
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Whitney High put together a great evening for Senior Night with high hopes a soccer victory over visiting El Camino would catapult the Wildcats into the playoffs. However, the game would end in a 1-1 deadlock and the class of 2013 walked off the Whitney playing field for the last time Friday night.

The Wildcats will close out their regular season May 1 at Cordova.

Greeted by fans, family, players and opponents alike, seniors Tara Armstrong, Rachel Blankenship, Lexie Dewyea, Mallory Erl, Molly McConnell, Brittney Neumann, Jessica Randhawa and Emma Richie were honored at the game. Whitney also paid tribute to the Eagles seniors as well.

Following the opening ceremony, the two teams went after one another with a vengeance. The ‘Cats repeatedly attacked the El Camino goal but couldn’t get anything to go in.

Then, as if out of nowhere, El Camino’s Jasmine Bernardo broke past the Whitney defense and outmaneuvered McConnell for the first score 24 minutes into the match. The Eagles were able to hold that lead until halftime.

Again, the two teams went at each other as the second half opened. The Wildcats then closed in on the Eagles’ goal and relentlessly attacked until Ashley Hunter’s effort found its way past El Camino’s goalkeeper to tie the score 1-1 with 20 minutes remaining in the contest.

The Eagles tried to return the favor but an incredible defensive stand by the maroon-and-gold turned back the effort. It was as if a force field went up behind McConnell as repeated attempts to score were kicked away by her scrambling teammates.

The ‘Cats went back on the attack after that but El Camino was also up to the task on defense.

“Today, it was all about the seniors. All the seniors played,” said Whitney head coach Ana Jones. “This night was emotional because when I started coaching here this was my JV team and it’s kind of hard for me to let (the seniors) go. They have heart. I’m happy for them but sad that they didn’t make the playoffs.”

CAL – Rio Americano 8-0-0, Antelope 6-2-1, El Camino 4-3-2, Whitney 4-4-1, Mira Loma 1-7-0, Cordova 1-8-0.