Although they scored in just the second minute of the game, the Cerritos College men's soccer team played a better second half in their 5-0 South Coast Conference South Division win over visiting El Camino College on Tuesday. The victory was the ninth in a row for the nation's top-ranked team, while the Falcons (16-1-2) also extended their unbeaten streak to 18 (16-0-2) in a row. Dating back to last season, the team has gone (33-1-9), and they will close out the regular season on Friday with a 3:00 p.m. divisional game at Long Beach City College. This season also marks the team's third straight SCC South Division championship.
"This was a great victory for us," said head coach Benny Artiaga. "I told our guys to enjoy the moment and don't undervalue a conference title. Even though we have bigger fish to fry, this was our goal from the start of the season; to keep the conference title here at Cerritos where it belongs."
In just the second minute of the game, sophomore Erick Gallinar (Connections Academy HS/UC Irvine) lined up for a long free kick and sent a pass into the box, where freshman Ernesto Cueva (Bassett HS) was there to head home the ball past Warriors (7-7-5, 2-3-2) goalkeeper Brandon Cardenas. It marked the fifth goal of the season for the defender.
Dominating the play for the first 22 minutes, the Falcons weren't able to add to their lead, while they had to withstand a resurgence from El Camino offense the remainder of the first half. Sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Aldama (North Torrance HS) was up to the task and turned away three of his five saves on the day, with the Cerritos defense able to handle any pressure coming from the Warriors.
Regrouping at halftime, the Falcons came out and added to their lead less than eight minutes into the second half. Gallinar, who moved into a tie for fourth place in the state after his three-assist day, sent another ball into a cluster of players in front of the Warriors net. Only one player was able to get a handle on the pass, and it was freshman Kevin Diaz (Connections Academy HS), who got his shot through multiple legs and past Cardenas into the net.
Riding the momentum of the second half goal, sophomore Esteban Camacho (Mayfair HS) squared up against a bouncing loose ball from about 35 yards out and fired a perfect strike that went under the crossbar for his fourth goal of the year in the 69th minute of the game.
Getting stronger as the game progressed, the Falcons added to their total just three minutes later, when Gallinar got the ball to Diaz, who saw that Cardenas was well out of the net. Diaz, who scored a hat trick on the day, lofted a long, high shot that had top-spin and bounced into the net past a diving Cardenas. The game's final goal came with the help of Aldama, who got the play started. Sending a clearing pass right on the foot of freshman Brandon Pelayo (Cesar Chavez HS), he deflected the ball to Diaz, who dribbled 10 yards before firing off a shot that found the inside corner of the net.
Photos by Daryl Peterson
November 17, 2018 M. Soccer: Rejuvenated Falcons post playoff win
November 13, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons seeded #1 for the playoffs
November 9, 2018 M. Soccer: Win concludes regular season for conference champs
November 6, 2018 M. Soccer: Ninth win in a row spurned on by second half effort
November 2, 2018 M. Soccer: First half goals enough in 2-0 win
October 30, 2018 M. Soccer: Late goal gives Falcons 4-3 win
October 26, 2018 M. Soccer: Offensive output continues in 6-1 win
October 23, 2018 M. Soccer: Second half offensive explosion leads to 8-1 win
October 19, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos shows they can score from any position
October 16, 2018 M. Soccer: Last-second goal propels Falcons to 3-2 win
October 12, 2018 M. Soccer: Nation's top ranked team shuts out Mt. SAC
October 9, 2018 M. Soccer: Draw keeps the Falcons unbeaten in the division
October 5, 2018 M. Soccer: Win sets up first place showdown
September 28, 2018 M. Soccer: Second half goal leads Falcons to conference win
September 25, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons open conference play with 4-2 win
September 21, 2018 M. Soccer: Slow start for Falcons in 3-1 win over Allan Hancock
September 18, 2018 M. Soccer: Rematch of state semifinal game goes the Falcons way
September 14, 2018 M. Soccer: Road win sets up rematch of state semifinal game
September 7, 2018 M. Soccer: Best scoring chance turns into lone goal
September 2, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos puts six on the board in win
August 31, 2018 M. Soccer: Falcons draw with defending state champ
August 28, 2018 M. Soccer: Unbeaten streak snapped with 2-1 loss