Falcons one step closer to CCCAA final four

Abraham Venegas, Staff Writer

“From the first whistle to the last whistle we grind it out, we fought and we got the win,” Centerback Ricardo Covarrubias said.

Cerritos College men’s soccer team eliminated Santiago Canyon College after an intense physical game in a 2-1 win on Nov. 25.

With the win, Cerritos advances to the third round of the Southern Calif. Regional Playoffs and will host Oxford College on Nov. 29 at 2 p.m.

The winner will advance to the California Community College Athletics Association State Championships at Mt. San Antonio College.

Cerritos scored in the 19th minute when Covarrubias delivered a free kick to defender Christian Hernandez, whose diving header sent the ball into the upper corner to put the Falcons up 1-0.

Cerritos controlled the tempo of the game as the defensive line was instrumental, dismissing any offensive threat from the Hawks side.

In the second half, despite Santiago Canyon having more possession of the ball, Cerritos came close to scoring in the 71st minute when midfielder Gilbert Rocha volleyed the shoot only for the Hawks keeper to save, denying the chance.

It seemed the Hawks tied the game in the 81st minute when Kyle Pizano’s shot deflected off a player and it found its way into the net. The goal would be disallowed after the linesman confirmed a handball, despite protest from the Santiago Canyon players.

Hawks Defender Christian Ochoa said regarding the referee’s decision, “I saw the sideline referee marked the goal so I don’t know why he brought the goal back, it was clearly a mistake.”

In their attempt to tie the game, Santiago Canyon left large gaps in their back line and were punished in the dying minutes of the game.

When a counter attack left the Falcons in a 4-1 situation as Diego Perez’s pass to forward Christian Carrillo put Cerritos 2-0.

When the game seemed to be over a penalty kick was called for a handball for the Hawks.

Andrew Sanders converted the kick as they quickly raced to get the ball into half line to start the game play.

In the dying seconds a mad scramble in the crowded box led Falcons keeper Ivan Del Campo to make a save for Cerritos, securing the 2-1 win.

Head Coach Benny Artiaga said after the game, “We knew (Santiago Canyon) would be tough competition. We’ve been through this before, knowing the first game is always the toughest.”