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Academica falls in hard fought semifinal matchup
Academica midfielder Alejandro Sanchez started every single game for the club this season, playing a critical role in the team's success (Photo contributed).

Academica Soccer Club of Turlock saw their stellar 2022 season and goal of repeating as the National Professional Soccer League Golden Gate champions come to an end on Saturday as they fell to Sacramento Gold FC in the semifinal round by a score of 4-2.

While the match started slowly with both teams failing to score in the entire first half of play, the second half was absolute goals galore up until the very final whistle.

Right out of the gate of the second half, Sacramento’s Dalton Pando broke the scoreless tie with a strike in the 48th minute. Nearly three minutes later, Manolo Pina extended Sacramento’s lead with another goal.

With a 2-0 lead, Pando and his Sacramento squad refused to take their foots off the gas pedal as he scored his second goal of the game in the 60th minute.

Facing a 3-0 deficit, Academica midfielder Felipe Lopez then took matters into his own hands.

In minute 70, Lopez finally got Academica on the scoreboard with a timely goal. Just three minutes later, Lopez landed the ball in the back of the net once again to quickly cut the lead to 3-2.

But just as Academica was shifting the momentum, Pina knocked in another goal in the 90th minute to give Sacramento a 4-2 lead and ice the game.

As the 4-2 score officially clinches Sacramento a spot in the 2022 NPSL Golden Gate Conference Final on July 16, Academica will set their sights on next season, which is expected to kick off in early 2023.