M. Soccer: Falcons record 3-0 shutout win in final non-conference game

Armando Ibarra, Jr. scored a pair of goals for the Falcons
Armando Ibarra, Jr. scored a pair of goals for the Falcons

With their final non-conference game behind them after a 3-0 win over visiting Norco College on Tuesday, the Cerritos College men's soccer team will now direct their attention to their South Coast Conference season. The Falcons (6-2-1) ranked #17 nationally in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll among Division III (non-scholarship) community colleges, will travel to East Los Angeles College next Tuesday for a 2:00 p.m. start in their conference opener. Cerritos, who finished second in conference play in 2019, won the SCC title three seasons in a row before that and have won eight conference titles in the program's history.

Taking on the Mustangs (4-4-2) on Tuesday, the Falcons received a pair of goals from sophomore Armando Ibarra, Jr. (Downey HS) to lead the way. Cerritos opened the scoring in the 15th minute when a bad clearing attempt by Norco goalkeeper David Calva was collected by Ibarra, who noticed the keeper far out of the net. From about 40 yards out, Ibarra was able to lift a shot over Calva and into the unattended goal.

"I thought today that the guys did a great job of being patient and disciplined," said head coach Benny Artiaga. "Our build-ups were good and we penetrated efficiently."

That patience paid off early into the second half, as Ibarra picked up his second goal of the game and eighth of the season. In the 54th minute, the Falcons lined up for a direct kick, which was taken by sophomore Martin Velasquez (Paramount HS). His initial shot was saved by Calva, with the ball careening off the crossbar and Ibarra was there to head the ball into the goal.

Cerritos continued to not only pressure the Mustangs defense, they were turning in solid play along the back line for starting goalkeeper Alex Ledesma (Bellflower HS) and in the final 33 minutes, freshman replacement Pablo Rivera (Basalt, CO HS).

Near the end of the first half, Ledesma raced well out of his net for a loose ball, which was also being contested by Norco's Cody Paul Bell. Racing back on defense to help detach Bell from the ball was freshman defender Ronaldo Ibarra (Montclair HS). Later in the second half, the Mustangs were going in on a three-on-one situation against Rivera. This time, it was freshman defender Ernesto Vergara (Salesian HS) who got back into the play and lessened the impact of the shot attempt by Marcus Carbajal, with Rivera making the save.

The Falcons scored their third goal of the day in the 67th minute, as several well-placed passes helped set up freshman Uriel Sanchez (Servite HS) for a nice goal. Sophomore Alex Rodriguez (Gertz Ressler HS) brought the ball up the left side and found freshman Pablo Caparelli (Real Salt Lake Academy, UT HS) in the middle, who quickly found Sanchez and he tipped the ball past Calva for a goal.

Photos by Daryl Peterson