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Ball Not Bouncing Right For Men's Soccer

Ball Not Bouncing Right For Men's Soccer image

The frustration of the Pasadena City College men's soccer team can be evidenced by what has become an early repetitive theme of its 2012 matches. The Lancers control the ball, pepper the opponent with numerous scoring chances, give up a key goal, but can't net one when they need it. This habit has left PCC winless after five matches at 0-4-1.

On Friday at Robinson Stadium, the Lancers outshot visiting College of the Desert, 16-7, but the Roadrunners prevailed, 1-0. It was the collegiate debut of Lancers' goalie Alex Radillo (Salesian High), who made two saves, but showed athleticism defending the net.

The only goal was scored in the 59th minute when Fabian Cortez knocked in a shot off a throw-in from COD teammate Mario Orozco. On the other side of the field, PCC was stymied by Desert's giant 6-foot-6 goalie Derek Jimenez, who wears easily the highest number in community college sports with No. 111 on the back of his jersey.

Jimenez used his height often to steal the ball during a PCC opportunity. He made six saves, but none better than his leaping tip away on a hard blast by Lancer forward Zachary Larson in the 20th minute.

In the 47th minute, Jimenez stopped an attempt by Brandon Flores. On the rebound, Irving Rosales ripped off a quick shot, but COD defender Sean Swift blocked a few feet from the goal-line to keep the game scoreless at that point.

Larson was involved in a bizarre incident with a minute left in regulation time. Larson went to fetch a ball that had gone out of bounds. As he was about to make a throw-in, COD head coach Pipo Castillo blocked Larson and bumped him the chest, causing tempers to flare and a stoppage of play. The referees immediately ejected Castillo for a red card and then allowed PCC almost five minutes of injury time to make up for Castillo's stunt.

But as things go for the Lancers, they couldn't tie it and didn't create a viable scoring chance in those final extra minutes.

On Sept. 11, PCC lost a close one at San Bernardino Valley College, 3-2, despite a late goal by Victor Menchaca (freshman midfielder, Belmont High). On Sept. 7 at Southwestern College, the Lancers played their only poor match, losing to the Cougars, 6-0.

PCC head coach Edgar Manvelyan put together a difficult non-conference schedule this season in contrast to previous years.

"We are going through a tough time, no question," Manvelyan said. "We aren't finishing our scoring chances, not taking advantage of the plays we need to score on. But we feel this part of the schedule will toughen us up by the time we start South Coast Conference play. That was our mistake last season. We looked good in the pre-conference against weaker teams, then just seemed to be overwhelmed in SCC games. We weren't ready then. I'm hoping we can get things out of our system now, and be prepared for conference."

The Lancers will go right into the lion's den when they travel to face San Diego City College, Tuesday, Sept. 18 (1 p.m.), then go to Whittier to play Rio Hondo College on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. Both opponents made it to the Southern California Regional quarterfinals last season. The Lancers already lost to CCCAA State Final Four participant Santa Barbara City College and first round regional playoff squad San Bernardino thus far.

PCC opens SCC play on Tuesday, Sept. 25 when it hosts El Camino College in a 3 p.m. match at Robinson Stadium. The Lancers will play 10 conference matches against three-time defending CCCAA state champion Mt. San Antonio, regional quarterfinalists Cerritos and Long Beach City Colleges, and first round playoff participants in East Los Angeles and LA Harbor Colleges. The SCC has perennially been regarded as the toughest soccer conference in the nation for all community colleges.

[Photo--Desert goalie Derek Jimenez goes up to grab the loose ball as PCC sophomore defender Yeyson Caballeros collides into him during the Lancers' 1-0 loss Friday at Robinson Stadium, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]

Release Date: 09/15/12
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu