M. Soccer: State tournament-bound Falcons pick up conference awards

File Photo: Kevin Diaz was voted the division's Offensive Player of the Year
File Photo: Kevin Diaz was voted the division's Offensive Player of the Year

Capturing their third straight South Coast Conference South Division title, the Cerritos College men's soccer team swept the divisional awards. Highlighting the awards are freshman Kevin Diaz (Connections Academy HS), who was voted the Offensive Player of the Year, while sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Aldama (North Torrance HS) was named the Defensive Player of the Year. For the second season in a row, and fourth time in his career, Benny Artiaga was named the division's Coach of the Year.

Joining Diaz and Aldama on the 1st Team were sophomores Esteban Camacho (Mayfair HS), Erick Gallinar (Connections Academy HS/UC Irvine) and Oscar Penate (Connections Academy/Cal State Fullerton), along with freshman Ernesto Cueva (Bassett HS). Those voted to the 2nd Team included sophomore Alberto Carrillo (Lynwood HS), along with freshmen Bryan Villalobos (Salesian HS), Bryan Ortega (Cesar Chavez HS) and Eugene Martinez (Delille Academy, Belize).

The team leader in goals (20) and points (55), as well as being second on the team in assists (15), Diaz is one of the main reasons the Falcons have advanced to the CCCAA Fnal Four. The team's starting goalkeeper for two straight seasons, Aldama is a two-time 1st Team selection and has compiled a career 37-1-9 record in his career. He's posted an 0.69 goals against average this year and has made 100 saves. Camacho, another two-time all-conference selection, has been one of his anchors on the back line, along with Cueva. An offensive threat, as well, Camacho has four goals and two assists this season, while Cueva has six goals on his resume. Aldama also scored a goal on a penalty kick and assisted on another goal.

Gallinar, the team leader in assists with 17, has also scored twice this season, including once in the 3-0 win over Santa Monica College that sent the Falcons to the Final Four. Penate has posted three goals and five assists on the year, while Cueva has been great on set pieces and had scored six times and assisted on two other goals.

The trio of Villalobos, Ortega and Carrillo have provided great offensive depth for Cerritos, with Villalobos leading the group with 13 goals in just 16 games. Nine of those goals came in a four-game stretch. Ortega has produced eight goals and four assists, with Camacho posting three goals and three assists. Ortega has scored twice in the postseason, while Carrillo accounted for the lone goal in a 1-0 2nd Round playoff win over Oxnard College. One of the most physical players on the field every game, Martinez has been a great addition to the back row, while he has also contributed four assists.