The Orange Coast College women's soccer team is the No. 11 seed and will open the 16-team Southern California Regional playoffs on the road against No. 6-seeded Ventura on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Coach Kevin Smith's Pirates (12-4-4), the second-place team from the Orange Empire Conference, might have earned as high as the No. 9 seed, if not for having to drop a contest from their schedule due to sanctions against the entire athletic program for beginning fall workouts too early.
The dropped contest, under bylaws specific to soccer, resulted in a worse power-point ranking, the criteria used to decide seeding.
Ventura (14-4-2), which saw its eight-game unbeaten streak (seven wins and a tie) halted by a regular-season-ending loss to San Bernardino Valley, finished second in the Western State Conference's North Division.
OCC, riding a six-match unbeaten streak, is led offensively by Karly Freeman (six goals and a conference-best 14 assists. Kamille Cawley, who is recovering from a leg injury, leads OCC with 10 goals.
OCC goalkeeper Emily Harrier has an 0.82 goals-against average behind a defense anchored by Anmarie Moreno. OCC has allowed more than one goal in just four matches this season and has surrendered just three goals in its last six contests.
Ventura's leading scorer Macey Herrera scored nine goals before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the ninth match. AJ Tewes (six goals and there assists) and Abigail Littleton (five goals and three assists) are other offensive catalysts for Ventura.
If victorious, OCC would advance to the second round on Nov. 26 against either No. 3-seeded San Bernardino Valley (17-2-2) or No. 14-seeded Los Angeles Pierce (13-4-3).
— From staff reports