A long awaited return to NSCIF Division III girls soccer championship game ended in disappointment for the Colusa RedHawks on Feb. 23 in Winters, as they fell 2-0 to the No. 1 seeded Warriors in their first appearance in the finals since 2012.
Between 2001 and 2012 the Colusa High School girl’s soccer team was a juggernaut, winning seven of their nine section titles, including a run of four straight.
However, following that string of success, the RedHawks fell on hard times until Laura Cervantes, a product of the Colusa soccer legacy, came on scene in 2016 to take the helm of her former team and start the rebuilding process.
“I am extremely passionate about bringing this team back to where it belongs,” Cervantes said prior to last Saturday’s game. “I truly believe we have the players to do it.”
After improving each year under her direction, this season, the RedHawks were the No. 2 seed in the playoffs with a legitimate shot at adding to their section title total.
However, facing the battle tested Warriors, last year’s runner-up, Colusa’s lack of experience on a bigger stage showed, as early miscues kept them from establishing a rhythm and allowed Winters to strike for goal just minutes into the match.
While the stunned RedHawks shored up their defense and dominated possession well into the second half, they could not break through against a Warriors’ defensive unit that played its role to perfection.
Then, with the desperation level rising for Colusa and the clock winding down, the Warriors leading scorer, Elina Perez, put the final nail in the coffin when she buried a shot from distance.
It was a painful defeat for the RedHawks, who had not been beaten by the Warriors in their three meetings during the regular season, but they have no reason to hang their heads after finishing with a 14-5-5 overall record, their best in seven years.
Additionally, although Colusa will graduate six seniors, they appear to have a bright future ahead given the potential return of 18 players, many of whom played significant roles this year.
Thus, while the season may have ended last weekend in Winters, the foundation has been laid for the continued rise of the RedHawks.