By John M. Sherrard
(Walnut, CA) For the second year in a row, the Mt. SAC Men's Soccer team defeated Irvine Valley College in the third round of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) playoffs, 3-2, to advance to its tenth consecutive state championship Final Four.
With the win the Mounties will aim to capture their fifth CCCAA title since the 2009 season. Mt. SAC won four consecutive titles from 2009 to 2012.
The states' top-ranked Mounties (18-2-2) and No. 1 South seed, will play Taft College (15-4-5) in a semifinal game next Friday at 10:00 am (New Game Time as of 11/28/16) at the Ventura College Sportsplex.
Taft defeated Hartnell in penalty kicks in the North semifinal game on Saturday.
Taft, the North No. 2 seed, is ranked tenth in the state and won a California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) title in 2007.
Leading the way for the Mounties was sophomore midfielder Axel Mendez with two goals. It was the seventh multiple-goal game for Mendez this season.
"It was a very hard fought game by both teams," Mt. SAC Men's Soccer coach Juan Sanchez said. "We had to work hard to get the result."
In a first half that had strong winds and hard rain, Mt. SAC didn't waste any time getting into the scoring column as Mendez received a pass in the middle from Martin Arrieta, just inside the box and scored in the 2nd minute for the 1-0 lead.
The goal was a right-footed shot that got by the right bottom corner of the IVC keepers' side.
The Mounties, appearing in their 12th consecutive So. Cal. Regionals, increased the lead to 2-0 in the 37th minute when sophomore forward Julio Velasquez fought for the ball inside the box and beat the Lasers' keeper.
However, just three minutes (40th minute) later the Lasers (16-5-3) cut the lead in half, 2-1, with a goal from outside the box to the top corner of the goal.
Just as in the opening minutes of the game, the Mounties took a 3-1 lead early in the second half in the 52nd minute. Sophomore forward Michael Flores beat the outside back and dribbled towards the goal, where he laid off a perfect pass to Mendez. From the top of the box he shot the ball into the upper left corner of the goal.
In the back-and-forth game IVC closed the gap to within a goal, 3-2, in the 69th minute off of a free kick.
With the victory the Mounties are now 7-0-1 in their last eight games and have lost only once in the last 19 games.
CCCAA State Soccer Championships will be held at:
Ventura College Sportsplex
4667 Telegraph Road
Ventura, CA 93003
Tickets are available for purchase at the gate and are:
- $12 - Adults (general admission)
- $8 - Identified student, faculty, staff, senior citizens (60+)
and children 12 and under (general admission)
Follow Mt. SAC Soccer on Twitter @MtSAC_MSoccer
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.