Los Angeles Soccer: Santiago Canyon College
Juan Sanchez doesn't know -- and doesn't care.
After guiding the Walnut-based Mounties (22-0-3) to their third successive state community college men's soccer title, Sanchez said there was no pressure to go for No. 4.
“You know what? There was no pressure for us to win three,” he said. “I never look at stats. I never look at those things, because to me, at the end of the day, that's when the pressure starts to build. Not once did I put that in my head.
“The fourth [try], we'll attack it the same way we attacked the last three years. I don't see there being any more pressure than there was three years ago [before we'd won our first.”
Sanchez expects five starters to return, including Danny Amaya (Rialto/Marshall HS), whose splendid strike Sunday in Sacramento delivered the 1-0 triumph over Hartnell, from Salinas, in the title game -- and extended Mt. SAC's unbeaten streak to 38 games. The Mounties are the top-ranked JC team in the nation.
Among those departing are Luis Fuentes (Baldwin Park/Sierra Vista HS), who scored 34 goals in two seasons, and Edgar Padilla (Baldwin Park/Baldwin Park HS) and Javier Castro (Pomona/International Poly HS), who combined this year for 20 goals and 14 assists.
“It's going to be a rebuilding year,” Sanchez said, “but what we've done, it's going to make it easy for us to recruit. We know the type of kids we want, the type of mental toughness they need to bring to handle these tough, tough games and these runs the last three years.
“It's a rebuilding year, just like last year, when we didn't expect to win it, and they showed maturity at the right time and peaked at the right time, and we were able to win [the state title] with a bunch of freshmen.”
Amaya's goal midway through the second half Sunday afternoon delivered a third successive state community college men's soccer title to the Mounties (22-0-3), who extended their unbeaten streak to 38 games with a 1-0 triumph over Hartnell (19-3-3) in Sacramento.
Amaya tallied on a 25-yard blast to the upper-corner, in off the top of the post, and Mt. SAC, from Walnut, used solid play at the back to close out its 14th shutout of the season and sixth in the last seven games.
“You know what? It's awesome,” Juan Sanchez, who has guided the Mounties to four successive state final fours, told ESPN Los Angeles. “It's kind of like a dream. To win the first one was very difficult, No. 2 was very hard, and now No. 3 is just -- there's now words that can describe the feelings.”
The Mounties were favored from the season's start after returning several pivotal players from the group that beat College of the Canyons in last year's final. They're ranked No. 1 in the national polls, and that means something to them because California junior colleges aren't involved in the NJCAA national championships.
“Hopefully, we'll get the mythical national title,” Sanchez said. “That was one of our goals. Last year we won the state championship and finished third [in the national poll], and we want to get it this year.”
Mt. SAC had more possession in an otherwise even battle, repeatedly penetrating through Amaya (Rialto/Marshall HS) and top scorer Luis Fuentes (Baldwin Park/Sierra Vista HS). Hartnell, from Salinas, struck a post early in the second half and nearly netted an equalizer, by Max Estrada, in the final moments.
WOMEN: Santiago Canyon falls in OT
Cara Curtin scored four times to lead Santa Rosa Junior College in a cat-and-mouse women's final in Sacramento, netting the decisive goal with 30 seconds to go in overtime for a 4-3 triumph over Santiago Canyon.
The Bear Cubs (20-1-3), who had lost in three previous state title games, had rallied on a late Curtin penalty kick to force overtime but saw Santiago Canyon, from Orange, overcome one deficit in overtime.
Mt. San Antonio College is 90 minutes from a third straight state community college men's soccer championship after battering the City College of San Francisco in a semifinal Friday in Sacramento.
The Walnut-based Mounties, ranked No. 1 in the nation, extended their unbeaten streak to 37 games with a 2-0 trumph at Cosumnes River College and will face Hartnell (19-2-3), from Salinas, in Sunday's title game.
Luis Fuentes (Baldwin Park/Sierra Vista HS) provided a 37th-minute lead with his 20th goal of the season -- and 34th in two seasons for the Mounties -- and Edgar Padilla (Baldwin Park/Baldwin Park HS) added his 13th in the 76th.
Mt. SAC (21-0-3) takes a seven-game winning streak, the last four by shutout, into the match with Hartnell, which romped to a 3-0 win over Santa Barbara City College (18-2-4) as Max Estrada netted a pair of goals.
The Mounties lost to Cerritos in the 2008 state final, then beat Taft in 2009 and College of the Canyons last year.
In women's action:
- Valerie Barrios (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS) and Jennifer Martin (La Mirada/Sunny Hills HS) scored first-half goals to lead Santiago Canyon (22-2-1) to a 2-0 victory over San Francisco (20-2-2) and into Sunday's final. The Hawks won titles in 2006 and 2009 and lost in the 2007 final.
- Cypress' bid for a third state title ended against Santa Rosa (19-1-3), which received first-half goals from Erica Cunningham and Cara Curtin for a 2-0 semifinal victory. The Bear Cubs are in their third final in four years after falling to Cerritos in 2008 and San Bernardino Valley last year. Cypress finishes at 14-5-5.
CYPRESS -- Cypress College had lost three women's soccer games in the same season only three times in 20 years -- more just once -- and this team did so in its first seven games.
If the Chargers were going to get back to the state final four, a birthright not so long ago, this wasn't going to be the team to do it.
But then a late-maturing side found some leadership, a top forward ended a self-imposed exile, and a big win over the unbeaten archrival bred needed confidence, and Cypress, among the most storied programs in California junior college soccer, went on the kind of run it's known for.
It's led where the Chargers (14-4-5) believe they belong, among the final quartet at this weekend's state championships in Sacramento. It has been five years since they last got this far after doing so for 12 straight years, winning titles in 1998, 1999 and 2004.
And here's a real kicker: They didn't lose a postseason game the whole time.
Mt. San Antonio College will again have a chance to defend its state championship, but getting there took longer than expected.
The Mounties (20-0-3), winners of the past two state community college men's soccer champions, needed 5½ hours Saturday to pull out a 2-0 triumph over visiting Oxnard (15-2-6) in a Southern California Regional final and claim a spot in their fifth straight California final four.
The game, which began at 2 p.m., was delayed for nearly four hours after a nearby gas leak forced an evacuation on the Mt. SAC campus in Walnut.
Javier Castro (Pomona/International Poly HS) scored early for Mt. SAC, the nation's No. 1-ranked non-scholarship JC team, and Luis Fuentes (Baldwin Park/Sierra Vista HS) netted his 19th of the season after the break.
The game was halted in the 38th minute, with Mt. SAC ahead, 1-0, when a Mt. SAC equipment manager accidentally drove a campus cart into an “old gas tank” adjacent to the soccer field, Mounties coach Juan Sanchez said. The area was cleared, the gas company summoned, the torn line repaired, and play started anew at about 6:15. The game ended a little before 7:30.
“It was one of those weird games,” Sanchez said. “They were all over us just before it happened -- they had just hit the post and were attacking us. ... We wanted to finish it [Saturday], because if we had to play later, we'd have to start over, and we would have lost our advantage.”
Mt. SAC will face City College of San Francisco (19-4-2), a 3-0 winner at Los Altos Hills-based Foothill, in a state semifinal Friday afternoon at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento.
In other men's action:
- Duran Stanley and Rodrigo Perez scored overtime goals to lift Santa Barbara City College (18-1-4) to a 2-0 victory over visiting Golden West (13-6-4), from Huntington Beach. The Vaqueros will face Hartnell (18-2-3), from Salinas, in Friday's semifinals.
CYPRESS -- Michelle Mendez came off the bench at the end of overtime and made two saves in the penalty-kick shootout to lead Cypress College back to the state final four after a four-year absence.
No. 1 Cerritos College and No. 2 Santa Barbara City College were upset in the first round of the state community college women's soccer playoffs.
On Tuesday, it was No. 3 Ventura's turn.
Another series of upsets has the Nos. 11 (Cypress), 15 (San Bernardino Valley) and 16 (Orange Coast) seeds playing Saturday for berths in the Dec. 2-4 state finals in Sacramento.
Jacqueline Lara (Buena Park/Valley Christian HS) scored a hat trick to lead Cypress (14-4-4) in a 4-0 rout of Ventura (18-4-0).
“This year's a weird year,” Ventura coach Steve Hoffman told the Ventura County Star. “I think you have to say Cypress is way better than their record says. I think they'll go to the state title game.”
The Chargers, who have won three state championships, the last seven years ago, will be home in one regional final against defending state champion San Bernardino Valley (14-5-4). The Wolverines won, 2-1, at College of the Canyons (14-4-3) as Mariela Ortega (Desert Hot Springs/Desert Hot Springs HS) and Milan Galloway (Rialto/Carter HS) scored in the first six minutes of the second half.
The other semifinal will match Cypress' Orange Empire Conference rivals Santiago Canyon (20-1-1), from Orange, and Orange Coast (14-4-4), from Costa Mesa. Santiago Canyon won the first meeting, 3-1; the second was a 1-1 tie.
Cerritos College might be seeking a fourth straight women's state title had it brought its best game to Santiago Canyon a year ago. The Falcons fell, 1-0, in Southern California Regional second-rounder, ending their bid for a third successive title.
Their path to a third crown in four years remains intact following Tuesday's 1-0 overtime triumph over Santiago Canyon. Justine Telles' goal in the 97th minute lifted fourth-seeded Cerritos (20-1-2), which will advance to the Dec. 3-5 state final four (at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita) with a victory Saturday at So Cal top seed L.A. Pierce (21-0-2).
Santiago Canyon (19-2-1), from Orange, lost to Cerritos in the 2007 state final, but last year's win prodded the Hawks to their first state title. They weathered plenty in Tuesday's regional second-round clash, with the dominant Falcons twice hitting the crossbar -- through Tatiana Cortes (La Mirada/La Mirada HS) and Liliana Leos (Sylmar/South East HS), both in the second half -- but succumbed to an overtime error.
Telles (Santa Fe Springs/St. Paul HS) curled in a corner kick from the left flank, and Santiago Canyon goalkeeper Angie Orozco (Irvine/Irvine HS) misplayed it into her net.
“They're all big, especially in the playoffs,” Cerritos coach Ruben Gonzalez said, “but Santiago's a well-coached team. We've battled before. Last year they got us, 1-0, and before that, we beat them in the state championship. It's always good to see two top teams battle.
“We played with confidence. For the most part, we were the better team. We held possession, and at the end they made a mistake on the corner kick, but we had opportunities that we didn't put away, and maybe we should have.”
The Falcons will be without Cortes against Pierce. She and Santiago Canyon's Janelle Hanna (Orange/El Modena HS) were red-carded after an overtime altercation.
Other first-round heroes:
- Gilberto Castaneda (Anaheim/Savanna HS) headed home a cross by Edgar Islas (Santa Ana/Santa Ana HS) midway through the first half to lift second-seeded Santa Ana (15-3-4) past visiting Irvine Valley, 1-0. The Dons' last game, 11 days earlier, was a 6-1 rout of IVC to clinch their 17th straight Orange Empire Conference title.
- Victor Rodriguez (Woodland Hills/Taft HS) tallied twice to lead sixth-seeded College of the Canyons (15-5-2) past Cerritos, 2-1, handing the Falcon men their first loss on their 3-year-old field. Cerritos, the No. 3 seed, had been 27-0-6 on the Falcon Soccer Field.
- Top-seeded L.A. Pierce (21-0-2) romped in women's play, 3-0, over visiting El Camino as Daisy Alvarenga (Lake Balboa/Birmingham HS), Briana Behrad (Woodland Hills/Taft HS) and Jessica Gonzalez (Mission Hills/Alemany HS) scored goals.
- Ventura (17-3-2), the No. 2 women's seed, routed visiting Santa Barbara City, 3-0, on goals by Lindsey Armenta (Camarillo/Rio Mesa HS), Taylor Benton (Camarillo/Camarillo HS) and Hope Weber (Camarillo/Camarillo HS).
- SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONALS
Tuesday's games (Home teams listed first)
Mt. San Antonio 4, Oxnard 0
San Diego City 1, Santa Barbara City 0
Cerritos 1, College of the Canyons 2
Santa Ana 1, Irvine Valley 0
L.A. Pierce 3, El Camino 0
Cerritos 1, Santiago Canyon 0, OT
San Bernardino Valley 1, Cypress 1 (San Bernardino Valley advances on penalties, 9-8)
Ventura 3, Santa Barbara City 0
Saturday's games (times tentative)
College of the Canyons (15-5-2) at Santa Ana (15-3-4)
San Diego City (18-2-3) at Mt. San Antonio (16-1-4), 4 p.m.
Cerritos (20-1-2) at L.A. Pierce (21-0-2), 2 p.m.
San Bernardino Valley (17-1-4) at Ventura (17-3-2), 5:30 p.m.
- NORTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONALS
Santa Rosa (17-2-2) at Fresno City (14-4-3)
Evergreen Valley (19-1-3) at West Valley (15-4-2)
Cosumnes River (14-4-5) at Santa Rosa (16-0-5)
American River (18-4-0) at Fresno City (18-2-2)
The JC state women's championship has gone to Santiago Canyon or Cerritos the past three years, so it's not so far-fetched to consider the winner of Tuesday's showdown the favorite for this crown.
The rankings say otherwise -- L.A. Pierce, the top seed, could await the winner -- but we're going with history.
Fifth-seeded Santiago Canyon (19-1-1) opened defense of its state title over the weekend with a 2-0 victory over Chaffey as Dyanne Anderson (San Clemente/Dana Hills HS) scored on goal and set up another. The Hawks were ranked No. 1 nationally from preseason until a Nov. 9 loss to Cypress (18-1-3).
Sixth seed Cypress' only loss this season was, yes, to Santiago Canyon.
Fourth-seeded Cerritos (19-1-2), which routed East L.A., 6-0, in its Southern California Regional opener as Tiffany Schultz (Santa Ana/Mater Dei HS) scored twice and assisted a third goal, will be home for Tuesday's regional semifinal. The Falcons won the state titles in 2007 and 2008, but they lost last year to Santiago Canyon at this stage.
Other first-round heroes:
- Fredy Razo (Lake Forest/El Toro HS) scored his 26th goal of the season, an overtime strike, to carry Irvine Valley's men past East L.A., 2-0.
- Jesus Landeros (Oxnard/Channel Islands HS) converted a penalty kick in overtime to lead Oxnard's men to a 3-2 win at L.A. Harbor.
- Taylor Steele (Camarillo/St. Bonaventure HS) scored on a penalty in stoppage to give Ventura a 2-1 triumph over San Diego Mesa.
- Chadd Johnson (Brea/Brea Olinda HS) tallied in the 90th minute as Cerritos' men edged Chaffey, 1-0.
- Andres Bueno (Santa Clarita/Golden Valley HS) had a goal and assist in College of the Canyons' 3-0 men's romp over Palomar.
- SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONALS
Saturday's results (home teams listed first)
L.A. Harbor (Harbor City) 2, Oxnard (Oxnard) 3, OT
Santa Barbara City (Santa Barbara) 3, Allan Hancock (Santa Maria) 2
San Diego City (San Diego) 2, Rio Hondo (Whittier) 1
Cerritos (Norwalk) 1, Chaffey (Rancho Cucamonga) 0
College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita) 3, Palomar (San Marcos) 0
Irvine Valley (Irvine) 2, East L.A. (Monterey Park) 1, OT
L.A. Pierce (Woodland Hills) 1, Long Beach City (Long Beach) 0
Santa Monica (Santa Monica) 0, El Camino (Torrance) 1
Santiago Canyon (Orange) 2, Chaffey (Rancho Cucamonga) 0
Cerritos (Norwalk) 6, East L.A. (Monterey Park) 0
San Bernardino Valley (San Bernardino) 3, Bakersfield (Bakersfield) 1
Cypress (Cypress) 4, Miramar (San Diego) 2
Santa Barbara City (Santa Barbara) 7, Moorpark (Moorpark) 1
Ventura (Ventura) 2, San Diego Mesa (San Diego) 1
Oxnard (13-4-5) at Mt. San Antonio (Walnut, 15-1-4), 4 p.m.
Santa Barbara City (16-2-3) at San Diego City (17-2-3), 2 p.m.
College of the Canyons (14-5-2) at Cerritos (11-2-9), 11 a.m.
Irvine Valley (15-4-2) at Santa Ana (Santa Ana, 14-3-4), 2 p.m.
El Camino (13-6-3) at L.A. Pierce (20-0-2), 2 p.m.
Santiago Canyon (19-1-1) at Cerritos (19-1-2), 2 p.m.
Cypress (18-1-3) at San Bernardino Valley (17-1-3), 2 p.m.
Santa Barbara (16-3-2) at Ventura (16-3-2), 5:30 p.m.
The state junior college brackets are out, and here's a group of death for you: L.A. Pierce (19-0-2), Cerritos (18-1-2) and Santiago Canyon (18-1-1). They're competing for one slot at the Dec. 3-5 final four at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.
Pierce, from Woodland Hills, is the top women's seed in the Southern California. Cerritos, the No. 4 seed from Norwalk, won state titles in 2007 and 2008.
Defending state champ Santiago Canyon, from Orange, has been No. 1 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division III (non-scholarship) poll since preseason, but a loss Nov. 9 to sixth-seeded Cypress (17-1-3) knocked it down to a fifth seed.
Second-seeded Ventura (15-3-2) and third-seeded San Bernardino Valley (16-1-3) join Cypress in the other So Cal bracket. Two teams from the South and two from NorCal advance to the final four. First round games are Saturday.
In the So Cal men's brackets, top-seeded Mt. San Antonio (15-1-4), from Walnut, and second-seeded Santa Ana (14-3-4) have first-round byes.