Just 72 hours after winning their fourth CCCAA State Championship in school history, the Cerritos College men's soccer team found out they were named the National Champions for the first time in history. The Falcons, who defeated Golden West College, 2-1 on Sunday in Ventura, were informed Tuesday afternoon that they have been named National Champions by United Soccer Coaches among Division III (non-scholarship) schools.
Richland (TX) College, who won the NJCAA championship, finished ranked #2. They came out to California during the season and defeated both West Valley College and Mt. San Antonio College. Neither school advanced to the state Final Four, while Cerritos also defeated Mt. San Antonio during the season.
In the three previous seasons that the Falcons won the state championship, they finished second in the national ranking.
"It's such an amazing feeling for our boys," said head coach Benny Artiaga, who has led the team to all four of their state titles. "In 2014, we really felt slighted, so this year, we grabbed hold of the #1 national ranking early on and didn't relinquish it."
The Falcons, who opened the season with a loss, went on to go unbeaten in their final 24 games (22-0-2), which included wins in their final 14 matches. They assumed the #1 national ranking in the sixth poll on October 9 and never looked back. Their strength of schedule, which included playing all three of the other schools that reached the state Final Four, and 12 teams that qualified for the post-season, was instrumental in earning the title.
"I'm so proud of our staff and players," added Artiaga. "They worked so hard and this is a true validation. We really did feel unbeatable. We could only control what was in front of us, so I kept telling our guys, 'how about we just don't lose'."
December 7, 2018 M. Soccer: National awards come the Falcons way
December 4, 2018 M. Soccer: Esteban Camacho signs with Cal State Northridge
December 4, 2018 M. Soccer: Cerritos earns first National Championship
November 30, 2018 M. Soccer: Semifinal win sends Falcons to the championships
November 26, 2018 M. Soccer: State tournament-bound Falcons pick up conference awards
November 24, 2018 M. Soccer: Victory sends Falcons to state Final Four
November 20, 2018 M. Soccer: Overtime playoff win advances Falcons to next round
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