LHS girls fall to Colusa
"It's disappointing, but it's just not that easy to win a section title," said Datema, who watched his team fall to Colusa 3-1 in the first round last Thursday. "You've got to catch breaks and play your best soccer. You can't afford to not to be ready to play."
Colusa handed Lassen its second playoff in as many years. Last season, Colusa defeated the Grizzlies 1-0 in the section title game. Lassen had beaten the Redskins in previous semifinal and championship games.
The Grizzlies took the field at Susanville's Riverside Park last Thursday against Colusa minus two starters. And the Redskins capitalized.
"To win championships you have to be deep and we weren't on that day. You need people to step up and fill holes," Datema said. "But I'm proud of how the girls hung in there when they could have folded. They never gave up."
The Redskins scored at the five-minute mark in the first half and Lassen answered 14 minutes later. Andin Moran scored off a cross pass from Quinn McKee.
The score remaining tied until the end of regulation.
"We had four opportunities to score in the second half, but couldn't convert. Courtney Oates and Linda Vazquez each hit the post," Datema said.
After a scoreless first overtime, Colusa found the net with three minutes left in the second overtime, and followed with another score.
"We had to push everybody up after their first goal and you really weaken your defense when you do that," Datema said.
Colusa moved on to the semifinals where it will face either Sutter or Winters.
"Their coach said he considered our game to be for the championship. I'm sure they'll beat Sutter or Winters," Datema said.
"Overall, we had a successful season. Unfortunately, it didn't end up the way we wanted, but that's how it goes. It takes a lot to maintain that consistency of excellence year after year," he said. "Many of the players improved tremendously throughout the year and that's what a coach likes to see.
"We were young and ended up starting two freshmen (Sara Nelson and Moran). Our youth gives us hope down the road."
The face of the Westside League changes next year. Gridley and Orland will join another league, while Paradise comes aboard. The Bobcats traditionally have been a strong team.
LeAnn McCracken and Moran led the team with 10 goals apiece. Oates was the team's leading point getter.
The Grizzlies won their sixth straight WSL crown.
Lassen's boys' team was told it made the postseason, yet early last week head coach Dennis Michaels was notified that his team was excluded based on the total amount of goals scored during league play.
It marked the first time Lassen failed to qualify for the playoffs in six years.
"It was a rebuilding season. The boys played hard and gave it their all. They were really hoping to make the playoffs," said Michaels, who took over the team after Matti Ripatti resigned at the beginning of the year.