In a thrilling match on Saturday afternoon, the #5 Santa Barbara City College Women’s Soccer team secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over #12 Rio Hondo.

Missing key players Gizela Amariz Zermeno due to card suspension and Preslea Wilson due to injury, the Vaqueros faced a 1-0 deficit at halftime.

With eight shots in the first half, Santa Barbara could not find the net, while Rio Hondo capitalized on their three shots to score past freshman goalkeeper Anna Kirk.

The turning point came with seven minutes left in the game as sophomore Athena Raelynn Bow-Graham scored, the match now even at 1-1. The intensity continued into overtime, where the Vaqueros emerged victorious with a decisive goal from Sofia Capelleti.

Head coach Alexander Zermeno praised the team’s resilience, stating, “The grit the women showed today was awesome to see; backs against the wall, they proved they can overcome anything.”

Furthermore, he acknowledged the collective effort, saying, “Hats off to all the players, starters, and substitutes. … But I want to give a huge shout out to freshman Karina Mendoza; she stepped up big in the holding mid role, and we need that stability to get more players higher.”

Looking ahead, Zermeno expressed excitement, saying, “We are excited to host another game; we’ll see you all Tuesday!”

SBCC is set to host Pasadena City College on Tuesday at 7 pm for the second round of playoffs.