July 16, 2012
California Storm advances to WPSL playoffs in San Diego

The Sacramento-based California Storm has advanced to the Women's Premier Soccer League regional playoff semifinals this Saturday in San Diego.

The Storm will play Salt Lake United at 7:30 at Cathedral Catholic High School. The Spokane Shine plays the San Diego Sea Lions in the other semifinal at 4 p.m.

Winners will play 4 p.m. on Sunday for the championship at Cathedral Catholic.

The Storm (5-2-3) advanced to the playoffs with a must-win 3-1 victory over the Pacific North rival North Bay Wave of Marin on Saturday.

Hermann Award winner Teresa Noyola from NCAA champion Stanford and twins Cara and Lauren Curtin from Santa Rosa Junior College scored goals to eliminate North Bay (5-2-3) from playoff contention on the tiebreaker.

Despite Saturday's win, the Storm players then had to wait out the Berkeley-based Bay Area Breeze's 3-3 draw Sunday with the West Coast Wildkatz to finish first in the WPSL's tightest race.

Storm coach Jerry Zanelli, also the 73-team WPSL's founder and commissioner, didn't follow Sunday's Pacific North finale, which the Livermore-based Wildkatz needed to win to claim the title.

"We had a player at the game," he said in a league press release. "To me, it's like an election. When the game is over, that's when you find out. Just tell me when it's over."

Among those who have played for the Storm this season are former area prep players Megan Burg (Bradshaw Christian, Sacramento State), Rachel Mercik (Oak Ridge, Cal) and Felicia Novoa (Kennedy, Sacramento State) and former Sacramento State players Maureen Whitney, Katie McCoy and Maggie Murphy.

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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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