M. Soccer: Win advances Falcons to conference tournament finals

Julian Vazquez chips the ball into the net for the Falcons second goal against LB City
Julian Vazquez chips the ball into the net for the Falcons second goal against LB City

Looking to make a return trip to the South Coast Conference Tournament finals, the Cerritos College men's soccer team posted a 4-1 win over visiting Long Beach City College on Tuesday. With the win, the Falcons (18-0-2, 10-0-0), ranked #1 in the state and #2 in the nation, will play on Friday at 3:00 p.m. in the championship game at El Camino College. Last season, Cerritos defeated the Vikings, 6-3 in the conference tournament championship game.

Playing in inclement weather, the Falcons were still able to play their offensive attack game and got on the board in the 10th minute. After moving the ball into Long Beach City territory, freshman Kobe Chavez (North Hollywood HS) was able to get off the initial shot that was turned away. Freshman Julian Vazquez (Salesian HS) was in the right spot to jump on the rebound and scored against goalkeeper Ryan Swan.

"Guys played a great game," said head coach Benny Artiaga. "We executed well in pressing, then high since last time. They did a great job of taking the ball possession away early. They are well coached, so we had to mix some things up."

With both teams contending with the field, which was getting more difficult to navigate with the pounding rain and high winds, Cerritos was able to break through three times in the span of 14 minutes. Vazquez, who had a goal in the first meeting against the Vikings, made it a 2-0 game in the 74th minute. Sophomore Antonio Negrete (St. John Bosco HS) moved the ball into an offensive position, and once he turned the corner, was able to find Vaquez, who was left with a wide open net and scored his ninth goal of the season.

The defensive pressure continued, which led to another offensive opportunity. On the field for just a few minutes, freshman Diego Cortes (Downey HS) sent a hard crossing pass to sophomore Christian Perez (Paramount HS), and he calmly finished the play with his fourth goal of the season on a tip-in.

Freshman Steven Ruiz (Cathedral HS), who was asked to make just two saves on the day, picked up his 11th win of the season.

The comfortable win allowed Artiaga to get all of his players some important playing time as the postseason nears. 

"We got to clear the bench and gave up that goal on last play of the game, but other than that we are very happy with our performance."

Photos by Daryl Peterson