Taft College Cougars Men's Soccer
Taft College Cougars Men's Soccer

With a remarkable returning class, Taft College Men`s Soccer program is looking to carry on in the same fashion. With experience under the belt, the coaches are looking to bring in freshmen from Kern County to compliment their talents.

Several soccer players have continued on to universities such as UNLV, UCI, CSULA, and CSUB. The coaching staffs` efforts are aimed toward those athletes who wish to continue both their athletic and academic careers at the university level. The men's soccer program is designed for those student athletes who believe that hard work and dedication is a means to success.

Cougar Soccer Teams Get Mixed Results
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 21, 2015

Taft College got mixed results in the first round of state soccer playoffs.

The Cougar women, playing at home, defeated Lassen College 3-1 to advance to the quarter-finals while the men, playing on the road, lost 2-1 to Feather River College.

The women, champions of the Central Valley Conference, got to play rival Fresno for a third time, but results were not available for the print edition because of the paper’s holiday printing schedule.

Two freshmen were responsible for the Cougars’ three goals.

Forward Carla Salazar scored two goals and midfielder Robin Peiler the other.

The first goal of the match came in the 38th minute when Salazar took a pass from Sierra Sagasta on the right side and had a clear shot that went over Lassen goalkeeper Amelia Landry’s head into the net.

That was the only goal of the first half.

TC scored twice in the second half, the first coming in the 49th minute when Peiler broke free on the left side and took a crossing pass from sophomore forward Ariel Manzano.

Salazar scored the final goal, getting an assist from Arielle Stoyanow, breaking free down the middle and rifling a shot past Landry, who had nine saves on the day.

The Cougars played Lassen in the regular season and won that one 3-0.

In the waning minutes Lassen’s Kiera Morgan scored from the right side off an assist from Maria Sanchez. That goal halted TC’s string of eight consecutive shutouts.

“These girls have a great attitude,” head coach Myisha Cutrona said. “They keep each other in line on their own. They’ve taken control on their own. That’s nice to see.”

Men lose
The Cougar men, seeded No. 9, ended their season on a sour note, losing to No. 8 Feather River 2-1. Details were not available.

The men finished the season 13-6-2 while Feather River advances with a 14-5-1 record

Cougar Sports Teams Aim for Playoffs
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 9, 2015

All three of Taft College’s fall sports teams are gearing up for a run to the playoffs, but all three also face tough regular season wrap-ups.

The Cougars were pushed to five sets last Friday but managed to get past a stubborn Merced team to solidify their hold on second place in the Central Valley Conference.

Taft improved to 9-3 in the conference and 15-11 overall heading into the final two matches of the regular season. Both are at home: tonight against undefeated eight-time conference champs Fresno City College, and Thursday when College of the Sequoias comes to town. Both swept the Cougars in the first round of conference play.

First serve for both matches in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center is at 6 p.m.

At Merced Friday the TC had to fight back after Merced won the opening set 25-21 with the Cougars grabbing the second 25-13 and looking like they might run away with the match.

However, the Blue Devils scrapped back to win a hard-fought third set 25-23 to take command again.
With their backs to the wall the Cougars cruised to a 25-14 win in the fourth set to force a tie-breaker they won 15-9.

Statistics were unavailable.

Reedley did the Cougars a favor by knocking Sequoias out of a second place tie with the Cougars.

As the conference heads into its final week the standings look like this:
Fresno 12-0 (18-4)
Taft 9-3 (15-11)
Sequoias 8-4 (10-6)
Reedley 8-4 (12-12)
Merced 6-6 (9-10)
Porterville 3-8 (3-12)
West Hills-Coalinga 1-11 (1-13)
Columbia 0-11 (2-21).

Both Cougar soccer teams have tough assignments in the final week of conference play.

The men made things more difficult for themselves Friday by losing a 2-1 heartbreaker at Fresno City College that snarled the CVC leadership. Taft, Fresno and West Hills-Lemoore are all 3-2 in the conference. The Cougars (3-2, 12-5-2 overall) are at Lemoore (3-2, 12-7-0) Friday, a team they beat at home in the first round, while Fresno is at hapless Sequoias (1-4, 3-13-2).

If the Cougars beat Lemoore and Fresno beats Sequoias, Fresno will claim the conference title by virtue of its two wins over Taft – 1-0 in Taft and 2-1 in Fresno.

But all three should make the playoffs. The loss to Fresno means the Cougars will have a lower seed and a tougher assignment in the first round of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Cougar women (4-0 CVC, 11-5-1 overall) will wrap up the regular season with two conference matches this week – at winless West Hills (0-4, 0-12) this afternoon and at home Friday against Fresno City College (3-1, 15-1-3).

Cougar Men Soccer Blank COS
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 2, 2015

Taft College has no easy task as the Cougar men’s soccer team prepares for a major challenge in their final two Central Valley Conference matches.

Nobody knows that more than head coach Angelo Cutrona, who’s taking a positive approach into the final two games.

“I’m really excited, and I think our players are too,” he said. “I think it’s a great way to finish the regular season and get ready for the playoffs. Both of these games will have a playoff feel to them no matter how they turn out. We feel very good about our chances.”

The Cougars tuned up for trips to Fresno (2-2-0 CVC, 10-5-4 overall) on Friday and West Hills-Lemoore (2-2-0, 11-7-0) a week later as the regular season winds down and teams jockey for playoff spots.

Taft has won seven of its last eight games and tied the other, so Cutrona feels his team has some momentum.

“I think our team is peaking at the right time. I really like that we are playing two playoff type teams to finish. No matter what happens it’s going to go down to that last game to decide who wins the conference.”

The Cougars lead the CVC with a 3-1 record, and are 12-4-2 overall.

They tuned up for the final push by defeating College of the Sequoias 4-0 last Friday.

Danny Ortiz scored his team-leading eighth and ninth goals to lead the way.

Aldahir Perez scored the first goal of the match after taking a pass from Luis Martinez and Fabian Roman made it 2-0 with an assist from Axel Cruz before Ortiz finished off the Giants with back-to-back goals. Perez got his team-leading sixth assist on the first and Bryan Henriquez recorded the assist on the final score. It was his second assist of the season.

Goalkeeper Ricky Montoy recorded another shutout, his ninth of the season. He has 17 saves on the season and has allowed just eight goals.

In winning seven of their last eight matches the Cougars have six shutouts and have outscored their opponents 17-2.

Cougar Men defeat Lemoore
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 26, 2015

In a showdown between the top two teams in the conference, the Taft College men’s soccer team got the edge when they defeated West Hills Lemoore 2-1 at home Friday afternoon.

By winning the match, the Cougars are 10-4-2 overall, 2-1 in the Central Valley Conference and are 6-2-1 at home.

The victory also puts Taft in a tie for first place with West Hills Lemoore with six points each.

All of the scoring in Friday’s match took place in the first half with Jovany Cachola scoring one of the goals on Aldahir Perez’s assist.

Danny Ortiz with the help of Enrique Garcia’s assist had the other goal for the Cougars.

Taft College returns home to face College of the Sequoias Friday. The match begins at 3 p.m.

Cougar Men Host Lemoore/ Women Cruise to easy Victory over West Hills
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 22, 2015

If Taft College is to have a shot at repeating as champions of the Central Valley Conference the Cougars will have to put in a top effort today when league-leader West Hills-Lemoore comes to town.

The match begins at 3 p.m. on the Taft High soccer field at Tenth and San Emidio.

West Hills is 2-0 in the conference and 11-5 overall while Taft is 1-1 and 9-4-2 after scoring late Tuesday to tie San Bernardino Valley College at home.

The Cougars are ranked 20th and the Eagles 22nd in the state power ratings. TC gets the nod because of strength of schedule.

Taft lost to Fresno but Lemoore beat the Rams, so the teams come in pretty even.

The key issue for the Cougars is scoring. They manage to get opportunities but have had trouble all season finding the net.

Against SBVC on Wednesday a missed penalty kick in the second half while trailing 1-0 was particularly troublesome.

San Bernardino got their lone goal when Roberto Morales took a pass from Aldahir Madrid on the left side to score what looked like the game-winner.

However, Gustavo Campos scored an unassisted goal in the waning moments to preserve a 1-1 tie.

The Cougars travel to Ukiah on Monday to play a non-conference match with Mendocino College (8-4-2). After that they host College of the Sequoias in a CVC match on Oct. 30.

Both Cougar Soccer Teams Capture Shutout Victories
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 19, 2015

The Cougar women won their Central Valley Conference opener with a 4-0 home victory over College of the Sequoias while the men were on the road in Stockton where they won 3-0 over San Joaquin Delta in a non-conference match.

Both teams are at home today in a doubleheader at the Taft High soccer complex at Tenth and San Emidio streets.

The women will open up things at 1 p.m. when they host West Hills-Lemoore. Taft comes in with a 1-0 conference record and 6-5-1 overall while the Golden Eagles are still looking for their first win of the year. They are 0-1 in the conference and 0-9 overall.

The men take the field at 3 against San Bernardino College in a non-conference match. The Cougars are 9-4-1 while the visitors, who play in the Foothill Conference, come in with a 5-4-6 record.

Carla Salazar had a big day Friday in the win over Sequoias with two goals as a follow-up to the hat trick she had in the Cougars’ previous match.

The freshman forward from Bakersfield High scored the ice-breaker moments before the halftime whistle, taking a pass from Arielle Stoyanow.

Seven minutes into the second half sophomore midfielder Stoyanow scored on a pass from freshman Shandy Hopeau.

Salazar found the back of the net again in the 66th minute, getting an assist from Sierra Sagasta to make it 3-0.

Sagasta, a sophomore from Bakersfield High, adding the icing on the victory with an unassisted goal in the 69th minute.

CVC standings:
Fresno 2-0 (11-0-3)
Taft 1-0 (6-5-1)
West Hills 0-1 (0-9-0)
Sequoias 0-2 (4-10-0)

Men cruise
The Cougar men won their fourth match in a row in Stockton. All four were crossover matches with the Big 8 conference.

TC spread the wealth around.

Danny Ortiz scored the opening goal all a pass from Aldahir Perez, who also got the assist on the second goal, which was scored by Daniel Roman.

Steven Bogden put the finishing touches on the scoring when he found the back of the net on a pass from Jesus Vidal.

The win pushed the Cougar record to 9-4-1 overall. Delta saw its record drop to 3-9-3.

Today’s foe, San Bernardino, has the unusual distinction of playing six ties. The Wolverines are coming off a two-match winning streak.

The non-leaguer will help tune up the Cougars for a crucial conference match Friday when they host CVC leader West Hills-Lemoore.

The CVC has historically been a tussle between Taft and Fresno but the Eagles are in the catbird’s seat at 2-0 (11-5 overall). Taft and Fresno are both 1-1, Fresno’s loss come at the hands of the Eagles.

TC Soccer Teams Win/Tie
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 9, 2015

Taft College won and tied on the soccer field last Friday with the men defeating Cosumnes River 1-0 in a rough match in Sacramento while the women staged a big comeback to pull out a 4-4 tie at Moorpark College behind Sierra Sagasta’s hat trick.

The men got an unassisted goal in the 60th minute from Danny Ortiz for the only point of the match that had an ugly ending with two Cosumnes River players ejected for red cards, one in the aftermath of the only goal.

CRC was whistled for 18 fouls, 11 coming in the second half.

The Cougars had the edge in shots on goal 7 to 5.

With the win the Cougars improve to 7-4-1 heading into today’s crossover with the Big 8 Conference in Modesto (7-5-0). TC will host San Joaquin Delta (3-8-3) in the last of the four crossovers on Friday.

At Moorpark Friday the Cougar women got off to a slow start while the Raiders came out hot, scoring four goals before Sagasta took a pass from Ariel Manzano in the last minute of the first half to score Taft’s first goal.

The Cougars dominated the second half, scoring three times and preventing Moorpark from threatening the TC net.

Sagasta scored Taft’s second goal 10 minutes into the second half off a pass from Carla Salazar, Alexia Gonzalez scored in the 70th minute with Manzano getting her second assist of the match and Sagasta recorded a hat trick with the final goal in the 88th minute. Shandy Hapeau got the assist in the tying goal.

TC will take a 5-5-1 record into Friday’s Central Valley Conference opener in Visalia against College of the Sequoias (4-9-0).

Cougar Soccer Teams Shut Out Their Opponents at Home
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 8, 2015

Both Taft College soccer teams scored home victories Wednesday but hit the road Friday.

The Cougar women scored all three goals in the first half as they cruised to a 3-0 non-conference victory over College of the Desert behind a solid game from Carla Salazar.

The freshman forward from Bakersfield High scored two goals and had the assist on the other.
Salazar got the scoring going nine minutes into the match off a pass from Alexia Gonzalez.

Twenty minutes later sophomore forward Ariel Manzano found the back of the net on a pass from Salazar, who finished the scoring in the 36th minute with her second goal. Sierra Sagasta, a teammate when the two played at BHS, got the assist.

With the win the Cougars evened their record at 5-5. Desert is 7-5-1.

Today the Cougars are in Moorpark (4-1-4) for another non-leaguer. They plunge into Central Valley Conference action a week later in Visalia against College of the Sequoias (3-8-1).

Men win 2-0
In a crossover match with the Big 8 Conference, the Cougar men defeated winless American River 2-0 to improve the Cougar overall record to 6-4-1.

Danny Ortiz scored the first goal on a pass from Daniel Roman, and Isaac Campos the clincher on an assist from Fabian Roman.

The Cougars get their second Big 8 crossover today with a trip to Sacramento to take on Cosumnes River College (2-7-3) before hosting Modesto J.C. next Tuesday on the Taft High soccer field at Tenth and San Emidio.

Both Cougar Teams Lose 0-1
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 1, 2015

Taft College’s soccer teams have had trouble all season finding the back of the net. Both teams seem to get plenty of opportunities but have been unable to finish.

Another factor is both teams have been playing some of the top teams in the state.

That was the case this week when the Cougar women lost to undefeated Rio Hondo at home while the men ventured south to play perennial southern California powerhouse Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga. Both of those teams rank in the top 10 in California power rankings.
For the women, who host College of the Desert next Tuesday, Rio Hondo’s Sabrina Gonzalez scored the only goal of the match in the first half to drop the Cougars to 4-5. Rio Hondo pushed its record to 6-0-2.

All five Cougar losses have been 1-0.

Chaffey improved its record to 8-1-2 while the Cougar men dropped to 5-3-1 heading into today’s Central Valley Conference match with rival Fresno City College. That one will be played at 3 o’clock on the Taft High soccer field at Tenth and San Emdio.

Fresno (4-4-4), like TC having an uncharacteristic slow start, lost to CVC leader West Hills-Lemoore, so both teams will come into today’s match-up hungry.

The Cougars and Lemoore are both 1-0 in the conference with Fresno and Sequoias at 0-1.

After the Fresno match the Cougars will play three consecutive with teams in the northern California Big 8 conference, beginning next Tuesday when American River of Sacramento comes to town.

Since the CVC has just four soccer-playing members the conference plays three crossover matches with the Big 8.

Cougar Soccer Teams Prepare for Conference Grind with Home Games
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 24, 2015

Both Taft College soccer teams continue to prepare for the Central Valley Conference grind and both were victorious this week.

The Cougar women pushed their record above .500 on Tuesday with a 3-0 victory over a tough Lassen College team.

Head coach Myisha Cutrona likes what she sees.

“I’m really happy with this group,” she said. “We have a team of soccer players. Our returnees are very disciplined and that makes it easier for the freshmen to buy into our system.”

Despite the early season record “we have not played a team better than us. Our problem is we just aren’t finishing. We’re having trouble finding the back of the net. I keep telling them to take more shots.”

Team leaders include sophomores Sierra Sagasta, Arielle Stoyanow, Alexia Gonzales and Moani Rivers.

Depth is an issue but Cutrona is pleased with the team’s overall strength.

“We are 15-strong with the four others able to play well because of those that surround them.”

TC will get another good test today when Los Angeles Pierce College (3-0-3) comes to town.

The conference looks strong with the exception of winless West Hills-Lemoore. Fresno as usual leads the pack with a 5-0-3 record with Taft at 4-3, Sequoias at 3-4 and West Hills 0-4.

Men start CVC
The Cougar man, meanwhile, open conference play today with a trip to Visalia where they will take on College of the Sequoias. The Giants are 3-4 in a conference that appears stronger from top to bottom.

West Hills-Lemoore (6-3) is setting the pace followed by Taft (4-2-1), Fresno (4-3-3) and Sequoias.

In Wednesday’s non-conference match with El Camino the Cougars found themselves in a 1-0 hole early when the visitors scored a goal in the 17th minute, but rebounded to take a 2-1 lead at halftime on goals from Gustavo Campos (23rd) and Colby Evans (28th). Jesus Vidal got the assist on the first and Campos on the second.

The Cougars finished off the scoring on an unassisted goal from Danny Ortiz.

Taft played solid defense, keeping El Camino from threatening the Cougar net most of the day.
El Camino got a red card at the 85-minute mark but the Cougars backed off and focused on defense.

The Cougars have a tough schedule next week – traveling south to play undefeated Chaffey (6-0-2) before diving into conference play at home on Friday when rival Fresno comes to town.

Cougar's Get Revenge Against Defending State Champions
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 17, 2015

Taft College got a measure of revenge Tuesday when the Cougar men’s soccer team shut out defending state champion Cerritos 2-0 on the home field.

The Falcons beat the Cougars 1-0 in last season’s state semi-finals. It was a loss that spoiled Taft’s perfect record and a shot at, not only a state championship, but a national title. Had TC won and gone on to beat Mt. San Antonio in the championship match the Cougars would have been No. 1 in the national coaches poll. TC beat both Cerritos and Mt. SAC in regular season play.

The loss for Cerritos added to a stunning start for the defending state champs, who are still looking for its first win. After ruling the California soccer scene last year the Falcons find themselves 0-4-2.

After a scoreless first half TC got goals in the 65th and 83rd minutes to seal the win.

Luis Martinez, a freshman midfielder from Porterville, drilled home the ice-breaker on a pass from sophomore forward Aldahir Perez (Shafter High) to give the Cougars all the scoring they would need.

Perez clinched the victory with a goal of his own with seven minutes remaining, getting an assist from sophomore defender Enrique Garcia (Ridgeview High).

The Cougars are 3-2-0 heading into today’s match against Las Positas College in Livermore. They will host El Camino College next Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Women beat East L.A
Meanwhile, the Cougar women’s team evened its non-conference record at 3-3 with a 2-1 victory at East Los Angeles College.

All of the scoring was in the first half.

In the 10th minute Arielle Stoyanow, a sophomore midfielder from Hawaii, scored an unassisted goal, and 20 minutes later Stoyanow sent a pass that sophomore midfielder Alexia Gonzalez (Highland High) put into the back of the net for what proved to be the game-winner.

The loss was ELA’s fourth without a win.

The Cougars take a week off to prepare for a four-match home streak, beginning next Tuesday when Lassen College comes to town. After that it will be Los Angeles Pierce on Sept. 25, Rio Hondo on Sept. 29 and College of the Desert on Oct. 6.

Cougar Men's Soccer Hosts Defending State Champions
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 15, 2015

The Cougars host defending state champion Cerritos College at 4 p.m. at the Taft High soccer complex at Tenth and San Emidio streets.

In last year’s state semi-finals the Falcons defeated the Cougars 1-0, spoiling TC’s undefeated season and quest for state and national championships.

The matchup is crucial for both teams looking for an ignition point on the young season.

Both are off to uncharacteristic slow starts. Taft is 2-2 while the Falcons are winless at 0-3-2.

“We know they are hungry,” said Cougar head coach Angelo Cutrona. “It’s been a tough start for them so they will be pointing for us.”

The Cougars, likewise, are hungry.

A young them with just seven sophomores they are looking for the right combination of personnel and a way to find a spark that will ignite the level of intensity Cutrona wants his team to be at.

“Cerritos is not the same team they were last year,” Cutrona said. “Neither are we. Our boys had better have a clue. This game for them is a turnaround for their season.

“And we have to find out own identity. We need to come out of the gate with intensity and maintain that intensity throughout the game.

Loss at Oxnard
The Cougars tuned up for Cerritos with a 3-1 loss at Oxnard College last Friday.

“We fell behind early,” Cutrona said. “They scored two early goals and we got one back but they scored again. We dominated the second half but just couldn’t finish.”

Oxnard scored in the fifth and sixth minutes to put the Cougars in a hole early.
In non-conference action Central Valley Conference teams stack up like this: West Hills-Lemoore is 4-2, Fresno 3-2-1, Taft 2-2 and Sequoias 1-4-1.

The conference season begins Sept. 25 in Visalia against Sequoias. Before that the Cougars have non-conference matches Friday at Las Positas College in Livermore and a Sept. 23 home date with El Camino College.

The Cougars are currently ninth in the state power rankings.

Taft College Sports Roundup-Volleyball and Two Soccer Teams Lose
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 3, 2015

It’s been a rough week for Taft College’s fall sports teams.

The volleyball team and both soccer teams lost home matches early in the week.

The Cougar volleyball team lost twice in a round robin TC hosted with northern California powerhouses Sacramento City and Foothill.

The soccer teams both lost non-conference matches to visiting Santa Barbara City College by identical 1-0 scores.

In the opening match of the round robin, the Cougars lost 3-1 to Sac City.

The visitors won the first two sets 25-17 and 25-15 before the Cougars surged back to capture the third set 25-19. The Panthers polished things off by winning the fourth set 25-19

The Cougars were on the defensive throughout against the much taller Panthers. Janell Molina led the effort with 12 digs followed by Halle Neher with 7, Madeline Griffith with 6, Kamalani Kahele 4, Nalani Kekuawela and Virgie Salanoa-Sagapolu 3.

In attacks the Cougars managed just 30 kills with Kekuawela leading the way with 12. Salanoa-Sagapolu had 7 and Sky Parker 5.

Setter Griffith tossed up 29 assists.

TC managed just three blocks against Sac City’s tall front line.

In the day’s final match Foothill swept the Cougars 25-20, 25-16 and 25-14.

Neher led the defense with 12 digs followed by Skyler Taumua with 10 and Griffith with 9.

Kekuawela had 15 kills to lead the offense and Griffith had 23 assists.

The twin loss evened TC’s record to 2-2 heading into a long road trip the rest of the month.

Both Taft College soccer teams lost 1-0 matches here Tuesday to visiting Santa Barbara City College.

Although both Vaquero teams were more physical and that proved to be the difference, the Cougars were able to keep the matches close.

The Cougar women, who opened the season last Saturday with a 2-1 win over San Diego City College, this time out were unable to seriously threaten the SBCC goal.

The Vaqueros, meanwhile, recorded their third consecutive shutout of the young season.

The only goal came in the 36th minute when freshman defender Baylee Vincent shook loose on the left side and fired a clearing shot from a Cougar defender into the left side of the net from about 30 yards out. The winning goal came moments after an SBCC throw-in.

SBCC coach John Sisterson, in a quote posted on the school’s sports website, said Vincent’s game-winner “was like a missile. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen her kick it with her right foot.”

Vaquero goalie Alex Camarillo and her defenders denied the Cougars.

The Cougar men lost a heartbreaker on a penalty kick in the 75th minute.

Cougar Soccer Team's Host Santa Barbara Today
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 1, 2015

Both of Taft College’s soccer teams will christen the home season today when they host Santa Barbara City College at the Taft High soccer complex at Tenth and San Emidio streets.

For the Cougar women, who play the 1 p.m. opening match, it will be their second outing of the season. They opened the campaign last Friday by edging San Diego City College 2-1 at home.

The TC men, meanwhile, will get their season off the ground at 3 p.m.

Santa Barbara’s teams are typically among the top tier in southern California. They had mixed results in their season openers last week.

On Thursday the SBCC women defeated Golden West 2-0 while their male counterparts dropped a 2-0 decision to Los Angeles Harbor on Friday.

In their win over San Diego, both goals were scored by sophomore midfielder Ariel Manzano in the first half.

The first came in the 20th minute on a pass from sophomore Arielle Stoyanow, the second seven minutes later on an assist from freshman Robyn Peiler.

San Diego countered with a goal in the 65th minute but the Cougar defense preserved the victory.
Both Cougar teams are young and coming off strong seasons a year ago.

The men were undefeated heading into the state championships before losing a 1-0 heartbreaker to eventual state champ Cerritos in the semi-finals.

The women, meanwhile, pulled off two big upsets before being knocked out of the playoffs.

After opening today against Santa Barbara, the Cougar men will host Los Angeles Mission Friday at 3 p.m.

Noteworthy: (Men) Defending state champ Cerritos had a rough opener, losing to Rio Hondo 4-2 last Thursday before playing Oxnard to a 3-all standoff on Saturday. Mt. SAC, which lost 3-1 to Cerritos in the 2014 men’s title match, got off to a good start by thumping West Valley 5-0 and Las Positas 3-0.

TC will travel to Livermore Sept. 18 to play Las Positas. Central Valley Conference foes Fresno (2-1 over Lake Tahoe) and West Hills-Lemoore (5-2 over Victor Valley) got off on winning notes but Sequoias tied Shasta 1-1. (Women) CVC powerhouse Fresno defeated Mendocino 2-0 and tied Cerritos 2-2. West-Hills Lemoore got clobbered 8-0 by Victor Valley and Sequoias blanked Monterey 3-0.

TC Men's Soccer Has Big Shoes to Fill
Seven Players are Returning From Last Year's Team
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
August 27, 2015

The Taft College men’s soccer team has a big challenge to match the accomplishments of last year’s team which was the fifth Cougar squad to make it to the state championships.

The Cougars were upended in a semi-final to state champion Cerritos College. It was Taft’s only loss of the season.

“I think we will have some difficulty in repeating what we achieved last year,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona. “I thought we were the best team in the nation but we fell just a little short.”

Cerritos and Mt. San Antonio battle for southern California supremacy every year while the Cougars have consistently been top dog in the north. After edging TC 1-0 Cerritos defeated Mt. SAC 3-1 for the state crown.

The Cougars had beaten Cerritos earlier in the season on the Falcons’ home field. This year Cerritos comes to Taft on Sept. 15.

Cutrona and his assistant coaches have seven players returning from that team that also beat Mt. SAC in the regular season.

“We have seven sophomore leaders who will be talking to the new guys about what it’s like to be one of the best,” Cutrona said. “I think by the end of the season we’ll be in the playoffs again.”

His freshmen are learning that college soccer is a big step up.

“They are learning that this is a different level for them,” he said. “On top of that they are having to deal with school now.”

TC began fall semester classes on Monday.

“We have a good group of players. I’m really happy with the way they are working. Our main objective is to give the freshmen some playing time.”

That will begin next Tuesday when perennially strong Santa Barbara City College comes to town for a 3 p.m. season opener.

“You can definitely expect a physical game every time you play Santa Barbara,” Cutrona said. “I know our guys will have some first-game jitters. Santa Barbara will come in with a game under their belt already,”

This year’s edition is different from the 2014 team that took TC to the Final Four for the fifth time. Last year’s team was loaded with sophomores.

“We know we’ll have to do some experimenting,” the coach said. “You can’t bring in a bunch of guys and expect them to fit your style. You have to be flexible and figure out how to adjust your system to fit the talent of the people you have.

Directions to Taft Union High School Soccer Field from Southern California:

  • Take I-5 North
  • Merge on I-5 North
  • Take the 166 exit towards Maricopa/Taft
  • Turn left on 166
  • Turn right on California Street (Hwy 33)
  • After about 6 miles, take the left to stay on hwy 33
  • Turn right on 10th Street (light)
  • Go about a block and a half and the field is on your left behind Albertson's

  • Link to College : Area Maps