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TWolves fall inches short, lose to Whitney
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ROCKLIN – Sometimes being lucky is better than being good, and the Sierra Timberwolves simply had no luck on their side in a heartbreaking 1-0 Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff semifinal loss to Whitney High Thursday.

The Timberwolves (18-6-2) saw a pair of soccer’s most exciting near-misses when senior Delaine Quaresma pierced the crossbar on two occasions, giving Sierra an eerie glimpse of how close its season was to extending to the final.

“It was that close, we were really just inches away,” Sierra head coach Manuel Pires said. “She hit the post about 10 minutes in and then she hit the crossbar later in the first half.

“Very shortly after that they were able to put in a goal.”

Whitney (17-2-2), which hasn’t lost a contest since March 4, found the back of the net in the 34th minute, when Liz Grober made good on an assist from Maris Severs. The goal stood the test of time, sending Whitney after its second consecutive section title.

The Valley Oak League champion Timberwolves have nothing to hang their heads about, holding the Wildcats to one goal for only the third time all season.

“The girls were obviously disappointed that we are not moving on,” Pires said. “But they also knew that we played a very good team. We left everything out on the field and I thought it was a good game overall.

“Especially in the second half, I thought we played well.”

Sierra closes it season one win short of a championship shot, yet its sudden and unexpected end cannot plague an otherwise illustrious season. None of the Timberwolves’ six seniors can find justification in seeing this season as a loss.

“I am really proud of this group,” Pires said. “They worked really hard to come a long way from the beginning of the season. Every year there is a new group of kids and I think that this year’s group was a very special group.

“They did a great job getting themselves in position to win our league and we came that close to getting back to the section final.”

— Jagada Chambers