Three TRAC teams advance in girls soccer playoffs

Despite finishing 6-4 in the TRAC, No. 5 seed Clovis West girls advanced to the Division I Central Section semifinals along with TRAC champions No. 1 Clovis North and No. 7 Clovis High. (Photo by Ron Itskoff)

Three is certainly company for the girls TRAC soccer teams in the Division I Central Section playoffs with Clovis North, Clovis West and Clovis all advancing, proving how powerful a conference the schools play in.

Just take a look at how the top three programs have fared in the playoffs:

No. 1 Clovis North (19-1-2) opened up with a 9-0 win over No. 16 St. Joseph before rain postponed their matchup with No. 8 Redwood.

No. 5 Clovis West (16-6-1) beat Paso Robles 2-0, and then upset No. 4 Liberty 2-1 on the road in overtime. 

No. 7 Clovis (17-9) beat No. 10 Atascadero 1-0, and then upset No. 2 Central 2-0 on the road.

“Just because you don’t win TRAC it doesn’t mean you don’t have a legitimate shot at a Valley championship,” Clovis West coach Nikki Schrey said. “That’s our mentality, my girls also believe that our story isn’t over.”

Clovis North won the TRAC with a record of 8-1-2 while Clovis and Clovis West tied at 6-4 for third place behind Central. Buchanan, the defending Valley champs, finished 3-7 but lost in overtime to No. 3 San Luis Obispo 2-1. Clovis East lost 1-0 at No. 4 Liberty despite an 0-10 record.

For Clovis West it’s been a steady turnaround for Schrey in her third year since she took over the program in 2016, going 16-20-5 the last two years.

“The girls have done a tremendous job working as a team to have success,” Schrey added. “It’s pretty neat when you have girls that aren’t getting significant minutes asking, ‘Hey Coach, what more can I do to help the team?’ Those are the kinds of girls I have and that has made a world of difference this season.”

Jillian Penner, a junior who came in with only two goal on the season, scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Paso Robles.

In the sudden death overtime win at Liberty, Giana Falco scored in the first half but the Patriots, who beat Clovis West earlier in the year 2-1, answered within two minutes.

In the golden goal period, Emily Berg, a junior, lined up from 35 yards out after a Liberty yellow card and hit a ball that bounced around the six yard line when the goalie misread the bounce and went through her legs for the game-winner.

“They never doubted themselves and they came together, worked as a team and left it all on the field,” Schrey said “I couldn’t have asked anything more of them.”

In addition to Berg, other Clovis West standouts include seniors Darian Tatum (signed with CSU Bakersfield) and Kylie Havens, and juniors Amber Jensen and Melania Scanlan.

The finals are set for Saturday, Feb. 23.

Paul Meadors is a man of many talents. He is a elementary school teacher, Junior High athletic director, and basketball coach in Traver, CA, in addition to serving as the Sports Editor for the Clovis Roundup. He is also the author of the humorous book “Letters to eBay,” and he has recorded a piano album of his own compositions titled “Surviving the Storm.” He lives in Fresno with wife Lori and daughters Georgie, Alex and Ruthie.