M. Soccer: Slow start for Falcons in 3-1 win over Allan Hancock

File Photo: Kevin Diaz posted a goal and assist in the Falcons win
File Photo: Kevin Diaz posted a goal and assist in the Falcons win

Embarking on a four-hour bus ride, the Cerritos College men's soccer team needed most of the first half to shake off the rust, as they took on host Allan Hancock College on Friday. It was their final non-conference game, and the Falcons (5-1-1) pulled out a 3-1 win over the Bulldogs after spotting the host an early lead. The team will now open South Coast Conference South Division play on Tuesday when they travel to Los Angeles Harbor College for a 4:00 p.m. match.

"It wasn't necessarily our best game," said head coach Benny Artiaga, who has seen his team win their last five games. "The four-hour drive seemed to throw some of the guys off and we gave up an early goal. But the guys settled down and took control of the game."

Allan Hancock snuck a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Aldama (North Torrance HS) in the 14th minute, but the Falcons would scored twice of their own before halftime. In the 28th minute, sophomore Erick Gallinar (Connections Academy HS/UC Irvine) sent a long switch pass to freshman Alex Rodriguez (Gertz Ressler HS), who in turn, whipped a crossing pass to freshman Kevin Diaz (Connections Academy HS). Keeping the play alive, Diaz headed the ball to freshman Allen Perez (Norwalk HS), whose strong strike from 25 yards out found the back of the net.

Just 10 minutes later, Cerritos would take a lead they would not relinquish. On the play, which was a thing of beauty, Gallinar and freshman Amaury Maldonado (Sunny Hills HS) played 1-2 combinations back and forth, with the last touch being a one-timer touch finish from Maldonado for his second tally of the season.

Continuing to attack the Bulldogs defense, the Falcons finished with 13 shots on goal. One of their final shots resulted in a goal in the 82nd minute, as sophomore Alberto Carrillo (Lynwood HS) moved quickly down the sideline and sent a crossing pass to Diaz. Keeping pace with the ball, Diaz was able to get up and head the ball home to close out the scoring on the night.

Aldama, who saw his three-game consecutive shutout streak come to an end, finished with six saves.