West Valley sophomore goalkeeper Samanta Coehlo wasn’t the only thing that got in the way of Fresno City College in the start of the state playoffs.
The match was delayed by about 15 minutes while officials monitored the air quality tainted by smoke drifting in from the northern wildfires.
Five minutes into the game, the defending state champions fell behind when West Valley forward Holly Hopwood got a feed from April López and blasted the ball past FCC goalie Ruby Campa. The play developed after the Rams failed to clear out a ball.
FCC monopolized game possession and shots on goal, but it couldn’t dominate where it counted: On the scoreboard.
The Lady Rams, who end the season with a 17-3-3 record, made a flurry of shots on goal in the final minutes of the opening half.
A shot by sophomore forward Raina Wristen curved past Coehlo only to hit the left post and bounce away.
Other shots were volleyed straight into Wristen’s arms or sailed just wide of the goal. Coehlo was credited with 10 saves.
West Valley, 13-4-5, will travel to fifth-seeded Lake Tahoe (17-0-4) for a second-round match on Nov. 20.
The Lady Rams were seeded fourth.