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Soledad alum named college soccer MVP

Hartnell’s Ascencio helps lead team to championship

SOLEDAD — Soledad High graduate Belinda Ascencio led the Hartnell Panthers women’s soccer team to the Coast Conference championship, helping her team attain an 18-2-2 overall record. 

For her leadership on the pitch, the 22-year-old forward was awarded the Coast Conference’s Most Valuable Player.

The Panthers defeated Canada College by a 2-0 score on Nov. 20 and then beat City College of San Francisco at home by 1-0 on Nov. 23 in the second round of the 2021 California Community College Athletic Association’s NorCal Regional playoffs.

On Saturday, the Panthers defeated Sierra, 3-2, to head to the Final 4 state playoffs. They will now face Mt. San Antonio College on Dec. 3.

This will be the women’s first trip to State since 2013.

“When Belinda was in high school, she was the primary scorer for the Lady Aztecs,” said Ascensio’s biggest fan, her mother Maria Gonzales. “At Hartnell, she scores goals but is also happy being a leader on the field by passing off to her teammates and helping advance the soccer ball.”

Ascensio’s sister, Monique, is also a member of the soccer team at Hartnell but has been nursing an injury.

“(Monique) last played with her sister on the same team when she was a freshman and Belinda was leading Soledad to a league title and the playoffs,” Gonzales said about her daughters. “Belinda will conclude her college soccer career when the playoffs are over.”

Ascencio finished the regular season with 13 goals and nine assists for Hartnell, which had a 9-0-1 Coast Conference record this year.