Men’s soccer has first-round bye going into playoffs

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Philip Okoli

Sophomore midfielder Alex Ayala practices dribbling the ball in a drill. The Falcons have a bye during the first round of playoffs.

Lauren Gandara and Lauren Gandara

Philip Okoli
Sophomore midfielder Alex Ayala practices dribbling the ball in a drill. The Falcons have a bye during the first round of playoffs.

With a 11-1-2 regular season record, the Cerritos College men’s soccer team is also ranked No. 2 in the SoCal Power Rankings.

The California Community College Athletic Association held a meeting on Tuesday in which the brackets for the playoffs were distributed.

The Falcons were given a first-round bye. They will then move on to play against the winner of the Golden West College vs. San Bernadino College game on Saturday.

Cerritos College men’s soccer Head Coach Benny Artiaga said, “We’ve been making playoffs since 2004 so we’re preparing the same way we always have. The intensity is up, the physicality is up, the demands are up.”

Goalkeeper Daniel Lizama, said, “I think we have a big advantage because the first round we have a bye so we have a lot of injuries so it gives us time to heal the injuries that some of our players have.”

Midfielder Juan Ochoa said. “We got a week off so we’re doing a lot of fitness right now and a lot of kicking the ball into the net. We need whatever goals we can get in each game so we can win.”

Cerritos is currently ranked No. 2 in the South Coast Conference.

Mount. San Antonio College is No. 1 in the conference and East Los Angeles College is behind Cerritos at No. 3.

Ochoa said, “Teams like that, you can’t have any mistakes because they won’t pass each chance you give them. They’re going to score and we have to stop giving chances away.”

With 42 points scored overall this season and ranked No. 5 as a field player, forward Angel Ayala said about his ranking, “Well being a freshman, I feel motivated for playoffs.

“It makes me feel like one of the leaders on my team so I know I’m going to have to put the team on my shoulders and just do what I can to make them move forward.”

After a 1-1 tie with ELAC in their last game of the season, Ayala said about going against them again, “I think it’s going to be a hard game but I know our team is much more capable of doing then what we did on their field and I think it’d be easier for us.”