With two of the last three CCCAA State Championships facing each other, this was destined to have the intensity of a playoff game. The Cerritos College men's soccer team (3-0-3) showed that they are on the path to return to their 2014 championship season, as they recorded a 3-0 non-conference win over Oxnard College (3-2-1), the 2015 state champions. The shutout was also the sixth this season for the Falcons, who will now travel to Taft College for a 4:00 p.m. game next Tuesday.
Taking a page from their state championship season, Cerritos combined both a stingy defense with an offense that can explode at any minute. In the 24th minute, sophomore defender Hector Jimenez (South East HS) stole the ball and sent a pass to freshman Christian Perez (Paramount HS), who had just come on the field several minutes ago. His fresh legs, coupled with two nifty dribbling moves, gave him enough space where he could get off a hard shot that found the inside near post for his first goal of the season.
Looking to add on an insurance goal, sophomore Luis Garcia (La Habra HS) put on one of the most impressive individual performances seen in many years. Playing a bouncing clearing pass, Garcia headed the ball ahead forward to himself, where he out-ran one defender as he took the ball on the edge. His first move was around Francisco Arroyo and then got past Luis Rivera, which put him at a steep angle facing the goal. He was able to send a hard shot that deflected off goalkeeper Ian Hernandez's hands and into the net.
Several minutes earlier, Garcia fired off a laser of a shot that just cleared the crossbar, while freshman Bryan Rodriguez (St. John Bosco HS) hit the post in the 50th minute.
Defensively, Jimenez, along with freshmen Luis Lira (La Puente HS), Esteban Camacho (Mayfair HS), Eric Payeras (Connections Academy HS) and Leonel Perez (St. John Bosco HS) were slowly turning away any Oxnard scoring chances. The Condors got off seven shots in the first half, but mustered just three in the final 45 minutes. Freshman Jordan Aldama (North Torrance HS) made six stops in securing his fifth shutout of the year.
Cerritos closed out the scoring in the 82nd minute when sophomore Oscar Canela (Paramount HS) found himself in a one-on-one situation with Hernandez. He was able to get off a shot that hit the goalpost, but landed favorably for sophomore Jose Rivera (Torrance HS), who headed the ball home for the Falcons third goal of the game.
Photos by Daryl Peterson
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