M. Soccer: Cerritos fails to advance in conference tournament

Mark Cristino opened the scoring for the Falcons against LA City
Mark Cristino opened the scoring for the Falcons against LA City

As the #3-seeded team for the South Coast Conference Tournament, the Cerritos College men's soccer team was looked upon to make a bid for their third straight title. After opening up a quick 2-0 lead over visiting Los Angeles City College on Friday, it looked as though the Falcons would clear that first hurdle. However, the #6-seeded Cubs (6-11-3) scored the next two goals and then outscored Cerritos (11-5-4), 3-2 in penalty kicks, which sends the Falcons to the fifth place game. The team will host #5-seeded Rio Hondo College at 2:00 p.m. next Tuesday. Last week, the Falcons defeated the Roadrunners, 3-1 in their first meeting.

With the game tied at the end of regulations, conference rules state that the game goes directly to penalty kicks. Cerritos missed their first two attempts, with the second by freshman Miguel Gonzalez hitting the crossbar. By contrast, LA City converted their first two attempts to take a quick 2-0 advantage. After sophomore Chris Martinez (Montebello HS/Mt. San Antonio College) was good on his attempt and the Cubs missed their third penalty kick, the Falcons had some life left. However, when freshman Jose Lopez (MY Academy HS) saw his shot careen off the crossbar, things looked bleak. LA City kept the Falcons hopes alive after missing their fourth shot, and when freshman Luis Medina (California Connections Academy HS)  converted the Falcons fifth shot, it was a 2-2 tie with one attempt remaining. The Cubs' Chris Ferrufino rolled a shot down the middle- and into the net, which dropped the Falcons to the fifth place game.

Early on, it looked good for Cerritos when sophomore Mark Cristino (Downey HS/UC Riverside) scored on a shot into the far corner in the sixth minute for a quick 1-0 advantage. It was a 2-0 game in the 25th minute when sophomore Diego Alvarado (Sierra Vista HS) cleaned up a loose ball that was lifted into his are on a corner kick and headed the ball home.

The Cubs got on the board before the end of the first half on a sloppy play off a corner kick in the 42nd minute and then tied the game in the 63rd minute.

Both teams had clear chances to add to their lead during the game, as the Cubs were turned away twice, once by sophomore goalkeeper Steven Ruiz in the 17th minute and once by the post in the 81st minute. Cerritos also had their chances, but were stoned by Cubs goalkeeper Santiago Navarro in the 23rd minute on a shot by Cristino and one by Lopez in the 38th minute. The Falcons also had a goal disallowed in the 51st minute by an offside call.

Photos by Daryl Peterson