REEDLEY - The season for the Selma girls soccer team came to an end against Reedley High School in a 4-1 overtime road loss in the opening round of the California Interscholastic Federation Div. III playoffs on Feb. 15.
Selma was the 13th seed entering the tournament and the Bears took the fourth-seeded Pirates to a 1-1 battle before overtime.
For second-year head coach Joel Cooley, he considered the season a success. With the squad only having three starters graduating, Cooley expects the girls to be improved and take a step forward next season.
This year, the Bears finished at 12-9-1 overall and 5-4-1 in Central Sequoia League play.
Coming into the game, Reedley finished the regular-season on an 11-game winning streak, the highest in the division.
Cooley thinks Reedley should be able to contend for a Valley championship.
“I had [Reedley] ranked third coming in,” Cooley said. “For us to come in and play them as well as we did and push them, I think it shows them a lot of what Selma is.”
In the 13th minute, the Pirates scored first with a goal by Emma Mulligan, one of her two goals of the night.
Later in the first half, Selma senior Aly Botello tied the score in the 20th minute.
In the second half, both teams couldn’t convert their shots on goals until Reedley scored with 10 minutes to play. The Bears caught a break after the Pirates score was nullified due to an offsides call.
The game went into overtime after both squads failed to score in the closing minutes of regulation.
After Reedley scored in the 87th minute, the Bears allowed two mores goals in the overtime period. The Pirates scored both goals in the final five minutes of the game.
Selma goalkeeper Lucy Chavez was one of the many players that kept the game close.
Cooley considers the senior as one of the best goalies in the state. Chavez’s dedication and commitment to the sport impressed Cooley throughout his time coaching her.
“She always learns, always tries to be better and is always looking for information to be a better keeper,” Cooley said. “She’s one of those players who every coach out there is going to be really upset that they missed her.”
Cooley said the goalkeeper will continue her soccer career at Clovis Community College. Most of the other seniors are looking to continue to play at the junior college level and have not yet determined where they will play.
From last season to this year, Selma improved its win total to four games. In Cooley’s first year, Selma went 8-12-1 overall and 4-6 in CSL play. After qualifying for the playoffs this season, Cooley expects to have a team that could contend for a league title and a deeper postseason run next year.
“We started two years ago way behind,” Cooley said. “With their commitment from last year and into this year, it showed if you put the effort out, we could go [far].”