The Feather River College men’s and women’s soccer teams each took first place in the Golden Valley Conference and earned a berth in this year’s regional playoffs.
In his first year at FRC, head coach Jason Spain led the men to a 6-2-1 conference record and the women to an 11-1 mark, earning conference titles for both teams.
The conference championships and playoff berths all came down to each squad’s final game of the regular season last Friday, Nov. 13, at rival Butte College.
In must-win situations, the FRC men netted a 1-0 victory and the women won 2-0.
The victories qualified each team for a Northern California regional playoff game this Saturday, Nov. 21. The men will likely play Modesto, and the women will likely play American River. Both matches will be away, as FRC can’t host playoff games because its soccer field wasn’t built to regulation size.
In the men’s win last Friday, the match was tied 0-0 until the waning minutes of the game, when Tony Navarro scored for the Golden Eagles with a header over Butte’s goal keeper.
In contrast, FRC won the women’s match with two goals at the beginning of the game. Sage Clark scored in the first minute of play, and Ariele Pires added a goal just a few minutes later.
Sophomore Sam Ensminger, a defensive captain for FRC, played an incredible game at the back line to shut out Butte’s potent offense.
“Samantha Ensminger was unbelievable,” said Spain. “We were shorthanded; she didn’t have her normal defensive line. To shut out Butte was huge. They’re a juggernaut.”
The Lady Eagles’ only conference loss was to Butte 2-0 earlier this season, then FRC beat Butte 3-2 and 2-0 to claim the conference championship.
Although the Feather River men could not beat Redwoods this season with two loses and a tie, the Golden Eagles sweep the rest of their opponents, which Redwoods was unable to do.
“The kids stuck with it the whole season,” said Spain. “Our motto is forever strong—they know it and live it. The kids made a lot of sacrifices throughout the year, and they’re extremely consistent. I’m proud of them.”
Spain added that the soccer program received excellent support from the FRC administration, faculty and athletic department.