M. Soccer: Shutout concludes conference regular season

Bryan Ortega lines up to take a shot that would be the first Falcons goal
Bryan Ortega lines up to take a shot that would be the first Falcons goal

In their final South Coast Conference game before the start of the conference tournament, the Cerritos College men's soccer team posted a 2-0 home win over Long Beach City College. The Falcons (14-1-3, 5-1-2), who will be the #2 seed for the conference tournament, will host the #7-seeded team at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. That team has yet to be determined.

After a scoreless first half against the Vikings (6-9-4, 3-3-2), who finished fourth in the conference, Cerritos was able to score twice within 12 minutes to account for the only offense in the game. But were it not for Long Beach City goalkeeper Oliver Juarez, who made 12 saves on the day, the score could easily have been more lopsided. He turned away four golden chances for the Falcons, including twice as the first half was about to expire.

In extra time, freshman Armando Ibarra, Jr. (Downey HS) took a clean shot from four feet out that was stopped by Juarez, while sophomore Dominic Valdivia (Loyola HS/Creighton University) had his line drive tipped just over the crossbar less than a minute later.

Cerritos finally got a shot past Juarez in the 62 minute, as sophomore Kevin Diaz (Connections Academy HS) quickly re-entered the ball into play after a brief scuffle between the two teams. He passed the ball to sophomore Bryan Ortega (Paramount HS), who brought the ball to the middle of the box and fired a shot over the hands of Juarez and under the crossbar for his team-leading 14th goal of the season.

Diaz picked up his 12th tally of the year in the 74th minute when he was able to chip a shot past Juarez after a beautiful pass along the goal line from sophomore Jorge Cardona (Connections Academy HS) was right on the foot of Diaz.

The Falcons turned in a superb defensive effort and limited Long Beach City to just two harmless shots on goal on the day, with freshman Luis Enciso (Gahr HS) earning the shutout win. Cerritos peppered the Viking defense and Juarez with 14 shots on goal.

Photos by Daryl Peterson