M. Soccer: Defense continues to come up big in shutout win

Uriel Sanchez had a great all-around game and assisted on the team's second goal
Uriel Sanchez had a great all-around game and assisted on the team's second goal

The old adage that "offense wins games, defense wins championships" seems to be most fitting for the 2021 version of the Cerritos College men's soccer team. The Falcons (12-1-1, 6-0-0), who have won seven games in a row, recorded their fifth straight shutout, as they blanked Pasadena City College, 2-0 in a South Coast Conference game on Friday. Ranked #7 in the state, Cerritos will get one of their biggest tests of the season, as they travel to #3-ranked Mt. San Antonio College (11-1-1, 5-0-1) next Tuesday for a 5:00 p.m. conference game. The two have had heated battles over the last 15 years and this meeting should continue that tradition.

As a team, the Falcons only rank 23rd in the state in goals per game, but are second in the state with an 0.83 goals against allowed per game. By contrast, the Mounties are tied for sixth in defense and eighth in goals scored per game, so if either team should find the back of the net, they look to have a huge advantage in the game.

In the win over the Lancers (4-12-1, 0-5-1), it took Cerritos less than 10 minutes to get on the board, thanks to one long pass and a lofted shot. Freshman Pablo Rivera (Basalt, CO HS), getting the start in goal, sent the ball half the distance of the field to freshman Pablo Caparelli (Real Salt Lake Academy, UT HS), who noticed Pasadena City goalkeeper Paul Jing a little too far out of the net. Once he controlled the ball, Caparelli was able to send a shot over Jing and into the net for his third goal in as many games.

"Our team is hitting on all cylinders right now," stated head coach Benny Artiaga. "This young group has bought in to the Cerritos way of playing and it's starting to show. Our goalkeeping has been superb and our ball possession has improved every game. We will have our hands full on Tuesday, but I feel this group is ready."

The defensive core of Caparelli, Jaret Rocha (Paramount HS), Mikel Villarreal (St. John Bosco HS), Daniel Villegas (Connections Academy HS), Ronaldo Ibarra (Montclair HS) and Miguel Martinez (Bright Star Secondary Charter Academy HS) have made things a bit easier for Rivera and Alex Ledesma (Bellflower HS), who came on to play the final 37 minutes against the Lancers, while the Falcon midfielders are adept at possessing the ball and playing their portion of the field tightly.

Although the Falcons were leading just 1-0, it had the feel of a game where they had a multiple goal lead, as they limited Pasadena City to just eight shots, with only one on net. Cerritos added to their lead late in the game, when Uriel Sanchez (Servite HS) spotted the team's leading scorer, Armando Ibarra, Jr., (Downey HS) who displayed his usual magic. The beautiful pass found Ibarra, Jr. faced with Jing and he fired a hard roller to the far corner of the goal for his 14th tally of the season.

Photos by Daryl Peterson