The loss came after a seven-game unbeaten streak at the end of the Tigers’ regular season, securing them a third and final playoff spot in the Western Athletic Conference despite being plagued with injuries throughout the campaign.
The Tigers (10-9-2 overall) finished third in the final WAC standings with a 7-3-2 record, qualifying for their fifth straight appearance in the SJS playoffs. But coach Cade Tomasegovich isn’t able to shake the feeling that a fully loaded Patterson team could have done much more.
“Dealing with all of the injuries throughout the season made a huge impact,” Tomasegovich said. “It really put things in a funky spin for everybody (on the team). We were constantly trying to figure out where players go, who can play with who, who’s going to help in certain positions. It’s hard.”
Patterson needed all the help it could get in its opening round playoff matchup against the two-seeded team from the Tri-County Conference River Valley (12-5-2).
But a handful of stalwarts were noticeably absent from the Tiger lineup, including junior forward Riquel Benitez, who after missing 10 games during the regular season with a broken nose, was sidelined with the flu; senior halfback Gracie Bradley, who suffered a gash on her leg Monday at home that required seven stitches; and senior midfielder Karina Villafana, who was out of action due to a lingering ankle injury.
Patterson’s remaining contingent gave a strong effort, including getting contributions from four junior varsity athletes who were playing in their first varsity game, but were ultimately unable to match the River Valley Falcons.
“The youngsters give me hope for the future of this team,” Tomasegovich said. “To see them on the varsity level, having to step in, having to face the music in our situation — for the most part they did it.”
In the 16th minute, Patterson senior sweeper Shantel Perez saved a potential score by River Valley when she tracked down Falcon Karina Recendez’s run at the goal from behind and booted the ball off the pitch and out of play.
As a result of the play, River Valley earned a corner kick, where Recendez played a pinpoint cross with her ball, and it found the head of Morgan McIntyre. The placement was perfect with the ball heading to the bottom corner of the net leaving Patterson senior goalkeeper Bernice Ayala no chance.
The Falcons scored another goal just minutes into the second half.
Near the 43rd minute, Recendez again struck a corner kick toward the far post for River Valley, and the ball went untouched through a crowd and into the net.
“Some girls out here today gave it their all. And that’s all I ask,” Tomasegovich said.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.