Chico Wraps up 2011 with Huge Takedown of Cal Poly

CHICO, CA (April 30) -- The Wildcats of Chico State just missed the WCLL playoffs this season, but they ended the 2011 campaign on an unexpectedly high note. Players and coaching staff alike are already looking ahead to 2012, confident that this year has positioned them to have a serious impact next year.

The team could point to a couple games this season when their own inconsistent performance pushed them down in the final conference standings. Close losses to opponents they could have beaten -- and most particularly the April 17 loss to Cal, when the Wildcats were visibly tight and tentative on the field -- killed their shot at post-season play. Chico's 3-3 record in the conference (11-6 overall) left them tied for fourth place with UC Berkeley, and that head-to-head loss meant they were out.

Out, but not down.

Their eye-opening play against UC Davis once the pressure to make the playoffs was off showed everyone, especially the players themselves, what they could do when they came in fast and loose. Just six days after the awkward Cal loss, the Wildcats totally dominated the Davis Aggies, running away to a 20-7 final score.

That attitude carried over into their last game of the season, against conference leader (and then undefeated) Cal Poly SLO. Was Poly perhaps looking ahead to playoffs, not fretting much about the Chico game? Maybe. But the Wildcats manhandled the Mustangs in dramatic fashion and did something no other WCLL team managed to do this year in defeating Poly.

Chico State came out firing and jumped to a 5-2 first-quarter lead. They held a 7-5 advantage at hafltime. In the third quarter, Poly got hot and everyone thought, well, here it comes. Going into the fourth, Poly was up 11-10. But the Chico defense clamped down, and held Poly to just a single score in the final period. Meanwhile, the Wildcat offense surged again to net five goals, and the thrilling game ended in a hugely satisfying 15-12 win for Chico State.

Maybe it wasn't a game that meant much in terms of final standings or playoff seedings. But to Chico Nation, it was a delightful and unanticipated lift at the end of 2011. And a tremendous momentum builder heading into 2012.


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