After surrendering a goal to visiting Fullerton College in the third minute of their non-conference game on Tuesday, the Cerritos College men's soccer team responded for a come-from-behind win. The defending United Soccer Coaches National Champion and CCCAA State Champion Falcons (2-0-0) will now compete in the Hartnell Tournament this weekend, which opens with a 3:00 p.m. game against the host Panthers.
The Hornets (0-1-0) got their goal on a scramble in front of the net, with Marco Polo getting credit for the tally. The early goal lit a fire under Cerritos, who turned on their offense and tied the game in the 11th minute. Scoring their third goal of the season on a set piece, sophomore Kevin Diaz (Connections Academy HS) was able to head the ball off a corner kick to sophomore Ernie Cueva (Bassett HS), who found the back of the net.
Prior to their goal, sophomore Bryan Villalobos (Salesian HS) almost tied the game a minute after Fullerton scored when his shot hit off the crossbar. On the day, freshman Armando Ibarra, Jr. (Downey HS) also hit the goal post, while Diaz saw his point blank shot in the 38th minute stopped by Hornets goalkeeper Andres Ramirez.
Diaz picked up his second assist on the day right before the end of the first half when his pass was threaded through the Fullerton defense to sophomore Bryan Ortega (Cesar Chavez HS), who drilled the ball home.
Clinging to their 2-1 lead, the Falcons were called for a handball in the box, which resulted in a penalty kick in the 84th minute. Freshman goalkeeper Luis Enciso (Gahr HS) was able to lunge to his left and turned away the potential game-tying goal by Steve Perez. Enciso picked up his second win of the season and made seven saves.
With the intensity picking up in the final minutes, Cerritos scored their final goal on the last play of the game. After a yellow card was issued to Perez in the 90th minute, sophomore Leonel Perez (St. John Bosco HS) was able to work the ball into Fullerton territory and lifted a pass to sophomore Eugene Martinez (Delille Academy, Belize), who chipped the ball past Andres Ramires to end the game.
Photos by Daryl Peterson
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