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Men's Soccer: First 0-2 Start In A Decade

Men's Soccer: First 0-2 Start In A Decade image

Over the past 11 seasons under head coach Cherif Zein, the Pasadena City College men's soccer program has built a reputation of excellence that includes four South Coast Conference titles, four trips to the third round of the regional playoffs, and a school-best run to the state semifinals in 2002. Last season, PCC just missed advancing to the CCCAA Final Four, losing to eventual state champion Cerritos in the third round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

So when the Lancers came out of the gate in 2009 with consecutive losses, the occurrence had the school's sport information office scrambling through its record books. The last time PCC started a season at 0-2 was in 1999. Fortunately for Lancer fans, that '99 team would go on to record a 7-match undefeated streak, win the SCC East Division title, and make it to the third round of the regionals.

PCC is hoping that this '09 club will have a similar turnaround.

On Aug. 28, the Lancers opened the season with a tough 1-0 loss at Golden West. Freshman goalie Iran Rodriguez (Mountain View High) made 7 saves. Freshman forward Haik Sargsyan (Glendale High) nearly tied it with 10 minutes left, but his hard shot hit the left post, then ricocheted off the right post as GWC maintained the shutout.

On Monday (Aug. 31), Pasadena took a quick 1-0 lead on a goal by freshman Gor Kirakosyan against host San Bernardino Valley. The Wolverines responded with 5 unanswered goals and handed PCC a 5-1 setback. It was the first men's soccer victory by SBVC ever against the Lancers, snapping PCC's 9-game winning streak in the all-time series between the two colleges.

The Lancers have no returning players currently eligible from last year and just one sophomore playing in transfer forward Lazaro Zuniga (formerly of Cerritos College, 2005). For the rest of the roster, the opening two matches marked the first collegiate competition for 17 frosh players.

Against SBVC, Rodriguez played the first half in goal (8 saves, 3 goals). In the second half, Jonathan Soto (Cantwell Sacred Heart) impressed coaches by making 12 saves, including a stop on a penalty kick.

PCC's newcomers include two players from Zein's Pasadena CZ Elite club that won the Under-17 boys US Youth Soccer national championship in July. Kirakosyan (Burbank High), a center-midfielder, and midfielder Derek Olson (Burroughs) were members of that title club.

The following make up the rest of the eligible Lancers as of this week: Gerardo Mora (midfielder, Temple City), Alfred Centeno (defender, Mountain View), Rimar Daisley-West (forward, Kubasaki High, Japan), Aram Emirzian (forward, Mountain View), Justin Gener (forward, Bishop Amat), Phillip Gutierrez (midfielder, Los Osos), David Krievs (midfielder, Nile Kinnick, Yokosoka, Japan), Steve Melara (midfielder, Los Osos), Hrant Narinyan (defender, Burbank), Suren Shaginian (defender, Alex Pilibos Armenian School, Los Angeles), Christian Lopez (midfielder, Glen Wilson/Hacienda Heights), and Francisco Cantero (defender, Pasadena Marshall Fundamental).

"Sometimes it takes a few matches for the players to mesh," Zein said. "We have strong talent and we expect to add a few more players in the next few weeks. We're young, but we hope to challenge the top teams in the South Coast Conference."

PCC next hosts LA Mission on Tuesday, Sept. 8 in a 3 p.m. non-conference match at Robinson Stadium.

[Photo--Gor Kirakosyan in action during PCC's 5-1 defeat at San Bernardino Valley College Aug. 31, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 09/01/09
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu