Stieber, Gwinn lead Lassen to Final 4
Carson High graduate Erin Stieber and Douglas graduate Amber Gwinn have played a huge role in showing that the Lassen Community College women’s soccer team is indeed for real.
Stieber and Gwinn played key roles as Lassen advanced to the California State Final Four. Lassen, 24-0 and ranked No. 5 in the nation, will play Cypress in the semifinals on Dec. 6 at Lemoore, Calif.
Cypress is also unbeaten and ranked No. 3 in the nation. In the other semifinal, Long Beach will face Sierra.
Long Beach is unbeaten as well and ranked No. 1 in the country. The semifinal winners will face each other for the title on Dec. 7.
As Northern California’s No. 1 seed, Lassen drew Southern California’s No. 2 seed in Cypress. Sierra is NorCal’s No. 2 seed and drew Long Beach, SoCal’s No. 1 seed.
Lassen went into the NorCal playoffs as the No. 3 seed and opened with a 5-2 win over Consumnes River at home. Gwinn then scored the winning goal in a 3-2 win in overtime over No. 6 seed Santa Rosa at home.
Santa Rosa had gone to six straight Final Fours. “There’s been times when they’ve been seeded 12th and still made it to the Final Four,” Lassen coach Ben Wade said.
Santa Rosa had much more depth than Lassen, with 25 players to Lassen’s 14. “Their 25th girl was as good as their No. 1 girl,” Wade said.
Lassen jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Santa Rosa cut the deficit to 2-1 at halftime. Santa Rosa went on to score in the second half to force overtime. “They wore us down a little bit,” Wade said.
But in the first overtime, Gwinn was able to send in her corner kick into the goal for the game-winner. Lassen was able to hold on through the second overtime for the win.
Lassen then received a break when No. 7 Yuba upset No. 2 Cabrillo. If Cabrillo had won, Lassen would have had to travel to Cabrillo for the regional final, but instead was able to host Yuba. Lassen beat Yuba 2-1, taking a 2-0 halftime lead.
“We were the much better team,” Wade said. “We came out very strong. I thought the first half was the best soccer we’ve played all season.”
Yuba scored a controversial goal in the second half, but Lassen was able to hold on. Because Sierra upset No. 1 seed American River, Lassen goes into the Final Four as NorCal’s No. 1 seed.
Gwinn is No. 1 in the state in assists with 27 and is sixth in the state in points. She has scored 22 goals.
Stieber has been a standout on defense, marking the opponents’ most dangerous player.
“Erin Stieber is about twice as good as the second best defender I’ve seen,” Wade said. “She’s been amazing. There’s no one else close to her. You never see her get beat.”
Wade said the difference between not making the Final Four last year and making the Final Four this season is the improved play of his defense and that Stieber has been a huge factor.
Stieber and Gwinn are sophomores and Wade said they both should transfer to Division I schools. Along with Stieber and Gwinn, Lassen also features two other local players, Douglas High’s Molly Hernandez and Brittney Christen.
Contact Charles Whisnand at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1214.