Pima Community College sports

Pima Aztecs achieve first NJCAA Division II national title game appearance

Information from Pima’s media relations department contributed to this report:

The fourth-seeded Pima Community College women’s soccer team is headed to its first NJCAA Division II national championship game in program history after defeating No. 6 Phoenix College 5-4 in penalty kicks after a scoreless draw on Friday at Wichita, Kan.

Sophomore Seti Valencia (Sunnyside grad) scored the deciding penalty kick. Sophomore Angelina Amparano (Salpointe Catholic) stopped three attempts in the penalty-kick session. She finished the game with 11 saves during regulation and the two 10-minute overtimes (110 minutes total).

The Aztecs (16-4-1) will close out the season Saturday when they play No. 1 seed Heartland (Ill.) Community College in the NJCAA Division II National Championship game. Game time is set for 12:00 p.m. Tucson time.

Pima has won 16 of its 21 matches this season. All 20 of the players are from Southern Arizona (Pima photo)

“PKs (penalty kicks) are obviously very nerve-wracking; not only for me but I know the kickers feel it too,” Amparano said. “I said ‘Just calm down guys; just pass it in the back of the net. It’s fine.’ Multiple times going into PKs over the last two years, I won’t say I have the hang of it but it does get a little less nerve-wracking.”

The Aztecs (16-4-1) fell behind 0-2 but Amparano made a save and a Phoenix College shot sailed left.

Sophomores Kortney Cahill (Cienega) and Litycia Espinoza (Sahuarita) tied it at 2-2 with their PKs.

Phoenix went up 3-2 but Amparano converted on her shot to tie it at 3-3.

Freshman Mari Acosta (Sahuarita) tied it again at 4. Amparano stopped the next Phoenix College attempt setting up Valencia’s game-winner.

The Bears finished with 22 shots for the game while the Aztecs had four.

“Every time we play (Phoenix College) they never seem to have low shots and it feels like they’re always coming at us,” Amparano said. “They’re a strong team but we just had to work harder than them and get everyone marked to where they needed to be to give that extra one percent. We really did that today. We didn’t finish the chances that we had but I think it’s good that we kept the shutout.”

This was the third meeting with the Aztecs and the Bears this season. Pima beat them in the first game of the season 2-1 on Aug. 28. The Bears won the second meeting 1-0 in Phoenix.

“This was definitely the most intense meeting with Phoenix College. Everything was on the line for us,” Cahill said. “For a lot of us this was going to be our last game if we didn’t win so we earned one more game. Everyone worked their hardest and worked their butts off to the very last minute. We backed each other up over and over and kept our cool. This feels great. We’re making history.”

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