May 19, 2012
With timely assist, Rio Americano wins girls section soccer title

It's been a pretty eventful playoff for Rio Americano girls soccer coach Jennifer Smiley.

On Saturday, she coached the Raiders to a 3-0 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III win over Capital Athletic League rival Antelope. It was the Raiders' fourth section title in six years and second in a row. The Raiders reached the title match the two years they didn't win.

So Smiley was plenty happy for her girls after overcoming several early season injuries and a brief bump in league en route to their sixth consecutive league title. The Raiders tied Antelope 2-2 and lost 2-1 to El Camino, the Raiders' first loss in two seasons.

"That loss humbled us," Smiley said. "We came back stronger, and this team peaked at the right time."

The Raiders (14-1-4) won their last eight matches. They dominated Antelope (19-4-3) in the title game as Lizzie Moulton, Alexa Heinzer and Paige Borgogno scored goals and Elizabeth Hutchinson controlled the midfield.

Smiley also gave an assist to her newest arrival.

Smiley's first child, Katelyn, was born May 5 and was the center of attention after Saturday's match.
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"Her due date was not until May 20, but she came 15 days early," said Smiley a teacher at Barrett Middle School in Carmichael who recently received a layoff notice. "She knew exactly when she wanted to come - right after league and before playoffs."

Smiley is a former soccer standout for the Raiders and keeps in tip-top shape, so her players had fun with her pregnancy.

"We wouldn't make fun of her, but we'd tease her about being fat, then she'd still out-juggle us in practice," said senior co-captain Lauren Elledge. "She's our baby Raider. It's been so much fun."

Fun describes Smiley's coaching philosophy.

With most of Rio Americano's players juggling demanding club commitments and challenging academics, she sees high school play as something percious.

"As a former player, I know how important it is to have fun," she said. "We work hard and play hard, but ultimately we come out to have fun."

In other title matches:

Division I: St. Mary's 2, Franklin 1 at Lincoln HS in Stockton - Lauren Aldana's second-half goal wasn't enough as the Wildcats' (17-5-2) bid for a first section title fell short against the nationally ranked Rams (30-1).

Division IV: Vista del Lago 4, Cosumnes Oaks 2 (OT) at Cosumnes Oaks - Dali Alarian and MacKenzie Mercier scored in overtime for the Eagles (15-2-2), ruining the Wolfpack's (12-5-3) bid to win their first girls section soccer title on their home field.

Division V: West Campus 3, Dixon 0 at Cosumnes Oaks - Jena Mamola had two goals as the Warriors (20-6-1) beat the Rams (8-7-3) to win their third consecutive section title.

Division VI: Bradshaw Christian 4, Forest Lake Christian 0 at Cosumnes Oaks - Trisha Simmons had two goals and Savannah Estes and Olivia one apiece as the Pride (15-8-2) topped the Falcons (13-8-1) to win their fourth consecutive section title.

The Division II game between Del Oro and Woodcreek is currently underway.



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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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