M. Soccer: Falcons settle score with Long Beach City

Falcons celebrate after winning the SCC Tournament
Falcons celebrate after winning the SCC Tournament

Looking to exact revenge against another team that defeated them this season, the Cerritos College men's soccer team defeated Long Beach City College, 6-3 on Friday in the championship game of the South Coast Conference Tournament. The six goals was the largest goal output of the season for Cerritos. The Falcons (15-4-1), who returned the favor against El Camino College in the semifinals, completed their regular season as the South Coast Conference champion, and now the tournament champs. The team will find out on Tuesday where they have been seeded for the Southern California Regional Playoffs, which will get underway on Saturday, November 20. Cerritos ended the regular season #2 in the state in power points, but hold a win over Mt. San Antonio College, who is #1 in power points.

"I'm so proud of our guys and bringing the title home," said head coach Benny Artiaga. "Our guys persevered and battled all season. It has ben a season full of ups and downs. We lost, arguably, our best player (Marcel Salceda) and it took us a while to adjust. We built our offense around him and trained all summer for him to be our guy. Plus, when Armando (Ibarra, Jr.) was hurt, we struggled to adjust, but through it all, we still secured home field and that gives us a huge advantage."

Armando Ibarra, Jr. with the SCC Tournament trophy Just as they did against El Camino on Tuesday, the Falcons put on the offensive pressure early in the game. It took them less than 10 minutes to get on the board, as freshman Arnold Castillo (Bell Gardens HS) snuck a shot on the short side past Vikings goalkeeper Oliver Juarez. On the play, sophomore Martin Velasquez (Paramount HS) brought the ball to the left side of the box and fed Castillo, who quickly got off his shot for his fifth goal of the season.

The theme of the game started looking like Long Beach City would counter every Cerritos goal with one of their own, as they evened the score seven minutes later.

Cerritos would regain the lead before the end of the half as the offense worked well in the transition. After a save from freshman goalkeeper Alex Ledesma (Bellflower HS), who cleared the ball, freshman Pablo Caparelli (Real Salt Lake Academy, UT HS) brought ball in deep after taking it from LBCC's Adrian Acavedo and fired off a shot. The shot was saved by Juarez, who saw the deflection land in front of freshman Chris Corona (Pioneer HS), who chipped the ball into an open net.

Looking for some breathing room, the Falcons opened the second half by scoring within the first 10 minutes to take a 3-1 lead. Castillo stole the ball on the Vikings side of the field and got off the initial shot. Another long rebound was pounced on, with sophomore Armando Ibarra, Jr. (Downey HS) scoring what would be his first of two goals on the day. Like they did in the first half, Long Beach City came right back two minutes later to draw to within one goal.

Learning from that mistake, Cerritos started to turn the heat up even more and doubled their goal output over the next 10 minutes with three more goals. Ledesma cleared the ball to sophomore Alex Rodriguez (Gertz Ressler HS), who centered a pass to Ibarra, Jr. (pictured, above left) for his 17th goal of the season. The three goals in the last two games puts him tied for second in the state in goals.

Only seven minutes later, Rodriguez got things going by stealing the ball and passed it to Castillo. Taking the ball down the right side, he was defended by three players, but still found a way to feed a pass through their legs to freshman Orlando Martinez (Bright Star Secondary Charter Academy HS), who took two dribbles and easily scored, as Juarez was moving toward Castillo. The final goal came on a set piece in the 70th minute, as Velasquez sent a ball to Enrique Penate (Downtown Magnet HS), who was able to head the ball over Juarez and into the net.