The CIF-SS record book will read that Grand Terrace won the CIF-SS Division 6 girls soccer championship this year, by forfeit over a team that will not be named because the runner-up finish will be vacated.
But truthfully, there were no winners when Grand Terrace was awarded the win prior to playing league and district rival Bloomington for the title last Friday.
Bloomington was penalized when it was brought to the Bruins’ attention that they had been using a player that was academically ineligible. Bloomington confirmed the error earlier on Friday, but it wasn’t until the teams were warming up before the 5:00 scheduled start that the forfeit was announced.
Here’s who lost in the whole process:
1. Bloomington. Of course, the Bruins missed a chance to win a CIF-SS title. And Bloomington was seeded No. 1 and had beaten Grand Terrace in two regular season meetings. How much difference did the ineligible player make? I’m not sure. Because Bloomington won’t have the chance to prove it either way.
2. The fans. With official word not coming until about a half an hour before game time, fans were already on their way. CIF-SS Commissioner Rob Wigod said no tickets had been purchased, so no refunds were necessary. But fans missed out on watching what should have been a great game for both communities. Outside of wrestling, Bloomington sports have struggled for years and this was supposed to be a bright spot. Grand Terrace is too new of a school for it to feel like a drought but the fans didn’t get to enjoy playing in a CIF-SS championship game.
3. Santa Ana Century, South El Monte, Pasadena Maranatha, Montebello Schurr. Those are the four teams Bloomington defeated en route to the championship game. We know that the ineligible player played in at least all of the playoff games. So, who’s to say one of those teams shouldn’t have advanced instead and who would’ve come out of that half of the bracket? Bloomington outscored those four opponents 10-0, with only one game (vs. Maranatha) by a 1-0 score. It’s not known how much the player helped, but regardless, a team playing by the rules should have advanced.
When asked if CIF-SS could’ve put Schurr in the finals, because that was the team that lost to Bloomington in the semifinals, it was said that it wasn’t that easy. Because, technically, Century should’ve advanced to play South El Monte, with the winner advancing to play Maranatha, with the winner of that facing Schurr. You can’t do all of that before the finals.
4. Grand Terrace. Sure, Grand Terrace was awarded a CIF-SS title. But there is a lot that the Titans didn’t get. Grand Terrace didn’t get a chance to play in a CIF-SS championship game. Coach Ryan Pacheco said players were reluctant to want to take a picture in front of the scoreboard after earning the forfeit. How much can you rejoice after winning a game you didn’t play?
Not only that, but fans would say that Bloomington would’ve won had the two teams played. While its true that Bloomington was the favorite, the first two games were 1-0 and Grand Terrace might have won anyway. We’ll never know. People will always wonder if Grand Terrace was the best team in the division.
Don’t take Grand Terrace’s result in the CIF SoCal Girls Soccer Division V Regional as proof or not proof as to Grand Terrace’s legitimacy for the title. Most teams don’t place the same emphasis on the regional as they do for the CIF-SS playoffs.