The Diablo Valley College women’s soccer team earned its first-ever conference championship last week.
The Vikings (14-1-6, 9-1-6) nailed down the Big 8 crown and the No. 1 seed in the regional state playoffs with a 3-0 win over American River on Nov. 8.
It has been a coming-of-age season for coach Cailin Mullins’ squad. DVC finished fourth in the Big 8 in 2015 with but five conference wins. They were sixth in 2014 with four conference wins; fifth in 2013; and fifth in 2012.
Why the big jump this time? Good players. Plus, the Vikings say they work hard in practice and play for each other. It's been a recipe for success.
Noelle Lemos, a former Benicia High star who redshirted at UC Davis, leads the Vikings in scoring with 13 goals and in points with 27. Vanessa Ruvalcaba and Karla Ramos are tied for No. 2 on the team with eight goals apiece, but Ruvalcaba has 21 points and Ramos has 20.
DVC’s Iron Women or those have started all 21 games are goalkeeper Katie McLaughlin, Ruvalcaba, Chloe Lindemann, Jessica Jaime and Megan Melara. Defender Deiziana Dargan started 20 games.
Against ARC, Lemos scored in the first and 10th minutes off Ale Gonzalez assists, and Ruvalcaba, with a bent for the spectacular goal, rounded out the scoring in the 41st minute.
The resilient DVC football team will travel to Sacramento City on Saturday for the State Center Bowl, both teams with 5-5 records.
The game will be rematch of the 2014 East Bay Bowl, in which Sacramento City rallied from a 35-14 deficit to beat the host Vikings 41-35 in overtime.
Nicked-up DVC is coming off a 33-17 loss to powerful Bay 6 champion College of San Mateo, in which the Vikings' Christian Fuca had six receptions for 80 yards. Ryan Anderson had a 46-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Gary Chapeta in the first quarter. Top rusher Desmond Nisby had 78 yards on 18 carries, scoring on a 6-yard run.
DVC linemen Dylan Gilfoy, with 11 sacks, and Ville Valasti, with 10.5 sacks, rank in the top seven in the state in sacks. Kory Lamberts is tied for 14th with eight sacks.
The Vikings' most recent win was a 44-20 triumph over De Anza on Oct. 22. Regular starting quarterback Jadon Brisendine has been out since suffering a shoulder injury against Santa Rosa.
Sacramento City quarterback Justin Yeaton, a freshman, has passed for 1,354 yards, and Tyree Hanson has 868 yards rushing, but had limited carries in his final regular season game.
The Vikings are excited to be competing in Saturday’s CCCAA state cross country championships at Woodward Park in Fresno after qualifying out of the NorCal Championships.
The DVC women are ranked fourth in Northern California, including beating the Big 8 champion Sacramento City in the NorCal meet. The DVC men are ranked seventh in NorCal.
Both the DVC men and women’s teams finished second in the Big 8 Conference meet, the women led by Ariana Corwin, and the men led by Kevin Orellana.
The Vikings (5-1) are off to an outstanding start, having just won the Merced Tournament title. Safiyyah Yasin and University of Kansas transfer Kelea Pickeral-Dennis were all-tournament selections. Freshman Doris Jones dazzled with her athletic ability, scoring, and all-around play, and was named MVP.
Yasin and Jones were also named All Tournament at the Mission College Tournament the previous week. Through six games, Jones leads the team in scoring at 17.3 points a game; she’s also averaging 6 rebounds and 2.2 steals. Sophomore Yasin is No. 2 on the team at 15 ppg. Sophomore wing Samirah Oliver, who is out with an injury, is averaging 12 ppg and freshman guard Seuvahnia Kukia is at 11.3 ppg.
Pickeral-Dennis is averaging a double-double with 10.8 points and 10.7 rebounds a game.
DVC coach Ramaundo Vaughn is excited to have five players averaging in double figures for the first time. Sophomore wing Deja Johnson Ford, at 8.7 ppg, could join the double-digit ranks before long. They are also getting great contributions from local products Kyle Miller of College Park and CiCi Cuneo of Northgate.
The high-scoring Vikings figure to crack the 100-point mark a few times. They’re currently averaging 74.8 points, while not playing their best.
The Vikings (2-1) will return to action after a week off against Cabrillo (2-0) in the Shasta Tournament. DVC is looking good so far.
In a 75-64 win over Contra Costa in the third-place game of the Tony Costello Tip-Off Classic, Jovontae Carelton had a team-high 21 points, but Brazilian Victor Mijas put on a shooting clinic by making 5 of 10 from 3-point range and 7 of 13 from the field, scoring 19 points. Rodney Pope had 20 points. Remy Dillard came in off the bench to score 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting from the floor, 3 for 5 from 3-point range. Freshman center Eric Nielsen, who had eight rebounds and eight points, is a force inside.
DVC coach Steve Coccimiglio needs two more wins to become the third community college men's coach in state history with 600 wins. He will be inducted in the CCCMBCA Hall of Fame in March.
Riding a five-game losing streak, the Vikings (9-3, 5-10) will conclude the conference season at Folsom Lake on Wednesday. DVC beat Folsom Lake 3-2 on Oct. 14 in the teams’ previous meeting, riding 17 kills from Jade Lee and 33 assists from Jasmine Assia.
The DVC men’s team completed a solid season with a fourth-place finish in the NorCal Regional Tournament at Las Positas, falling to Sierra in the third-place game. The Vikings opened NorCal with a 14-5 victory over Santa Rosa, but fell 17-15 in a heartbreaker to San Joaquin Delta in the semifinals.
The Vikings concluded the season 11-15 overall.
-- Matt Schwab