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 Men Stunned in Soccer Playoffs
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
November 25, 2013

Saturday’s first-round men’s soccer playoff started and ended badly for Taft College.

To begin with the Cougars’ leading scorer, Rogelio Sustaita, suffered a frightening head injury that sent him to the hospital in an ambulance.

It ended when the teams were unable to break a 1-all tie through two overtime periods, and visiting Las Positas College eliminated the Cougars on penalty kicks.

“That’s part of the sport,” Cougar head coach Angelo Cutrona said.  “I thought we had a chance to go pretty far (in the playoffs). 

Unfortunately, there were a lot of little things that hurt the track of the game.”

He said his young team was unable to overcome the loss of a star player and Las Positas’ game plan.

“Our concern for Rogelio was impossible to ignore.  (Las Positas) clearly wanted to slow the game down and we sort of fell into that.  Our young guys didn’t know how to react to it.”

Losing Sustaita compounded the issue.

“When he went down it was definitely something that hurt us.  He was our go-to guy.  We definitely missed him.  I read an article that they were going to mark up Rogelio.”

(Mark up is a soccer term meaning a team plans to closely guard a top player.)

Cutrona wasn’t suggesting any deliberate attempt to hurt Sustaita.  He was injured when he and a Hawk defender collided going for a header.

Sustaita was back in his campus dorm room that night following treatment for what Cutrona described as a severe blow to the side of his face.

“There was no concussion,” he said.  “It was more like a knockout.  He took a horrible blow.  He’ll need six to eight weeks to be fully recovered.”

The Cougars had the best chance to win the game their coach said.

“We clearly had three or four chances that we didn’t put away, but that’s the way things happen sometimes.  I haven’t seen us play that poorly in a long time, but give credit to Las Positas.  They had a good game plan and executed it perfectly.”

Cougar Soccer Teams Open Playoffs on Saturday
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
November 22, 2013

Both Taft College soccer teams open state playoff action Saturday – the men hosting a game while the women will hit the road.

The Cougar men were seeded No. 5 in the northern California playoffs and will entertain No. 12 Las Positas College of Livermore Saturday at 2 p.m. on the San Emidio Street field.

Las Positas finished 10-6-3 and was runner-up in the north division of the Coast Conference.

The Hawks lost to Cougar rival Fresno 1-0 early in the season.

  Leading scorers are Efrain Bonilla, Jesus Carriedo and Jonathan Orozco.

Head coach Angelo Cutrona said he knows very little about Las Positas other than “our statistics are pretty similar.  I know it’s going to take a group effort to win Saturday.”

The Cougar women, drawing the No. 10 seed, will make the 388 mile, six hour plus trip to Ukiah to take on No. 7 and undefeated Mendocino College (16-0-4) at 2 p.m.

The Eagles are champions of the Bay Valley Conference, have scored 82 goals and allowed just 14.  Team leader is Anna Waldman, who has scored 30 goals, fourth best in the state.

The men’s team repeated as Central Valley Conference champion, but the women fell short in their bid for their first crown a week ago when they lost a bid to unseat Fresno, the No. 1 north seed.

The men’s team got off to a slow start this season after going undefeated last season before falling to state champion Mt. San Antonio in the semifinals.  The Cougars won their last eight games to finish 12-5-2.

The women’s team got off to a good start before losing twice to Santa Barbara but tied southern California powerhouse Chaffey.  They tied Fresno on the road then lost at home, the only blemishes on their conference record.

Head coach Myisha Cutrona isn’t too worried about the long trip north.

“We plan to leave at 5:30 Saturday morning,” she said.  “That should give us time to work out the stiffness from the long bus ride.”

Her advice to her team:

“It’s a great experience for these girls.  I want them to enjoy the experience.  Don’t leave the field with any regrets.”

If both teams win they will advance to the next Tuesday’s second round.

The men would be matched up with the winner of the No. 13 Cabrillo at No. 4 Hartnell match-up – hosting if Cabrillo wins but traveling to Salinas if Hartnell triumphs.

Cougar Men's Soccer Defeat West Hills
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
November 4, 2013

The Cougar men's soccer team avenged an earlier tie at home with West Hills-Lemoore by shutting out the Golden Eagles 3-0 Friday on their home field.

Again, the Cougars spread the wealth around.

Three different players scored goals.

Oscar Torres scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season, Rogelio Sustaita got his fourth and Ruben Alvarez scored his second.

Sustaita also got his sixth assist, which ranks first on the team. The other assists came from Jesus Villalpando and Jose Tobar – the first for each.

J.D. Cisneros had five saves as the starting goalkeeper. Mario Vieyra worked the final 20 minutes, but the Golden Eagles did not threaten.

The Cougars take a break from conference action today when they host Allan Hancock College (2-9-2) at 3 o'clock on the Taft High soccer park at San Emidio and Tenth.

That one will serve as a tune-up for another must-win conference match on Friday in Fresno.

The Cougars and Rams tied when they met in Taft back on Oct. 4.

Fresno leads the conference with a 3-0-1 record (11-5-3 overall) and defeated winless College of the Sequoias 5-0 Friday.

The defending champion Cougars are 2-0-2 (8-5-2 overall).

Fresno is ranked No. 5 in northern California and No. 11 in the state power ranking system and No. 2 NorCal/5 state on the sports information directors poll.

Taft is No. 10 in the state and 4th NorCal in the power rankings but unranked in the sports information poll.

TC Men Confident Down Home Stretch/Cougars Shut Out CVC 6-0
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
October 28, 2013

Taft College men’s soccer coach Angelo Cutrona likes the position his team is in as the Central Valley Conference season winds down and playoffs loom.

After playing ties with Fresno and West Hills-Lemoore, the Cougars finished the first half of CVC action with a 6-0 victory at College of the Sequoias last Friday.

That sets up the final push the defending champion Cougars hope will catapult them into a high seed for the playoffs.

The challenge is a hefty one because those two ties came on the Cougars’ home field and they will have to get even on the road, beginning Friday when they travel to Lemoore.

“We must win against West Hills,” Cutrona said.  “A tie won’t be beneficial to us.  We need to take care of them to have another must-win against Fresno (a week later).

“I like the situation we are in at this point because it gets you motivated and gives you momentum going into the playoffs.”

Cutrona also likes the fact the Cougars have a pair of non-conference matches intermingled with the final conference push.

In between the West Hills and Fresno games the Cougars will host Allan Hancock College next Tuesday and play at San Bernardino Valley College a week later before finishing off the regular season at home Nov. 15 against Sequoias. Playoffs begin Nov. 23.

“The most important thing for us now is that out of the five games we have left three are must-win, but that’s not a bad situation,” Cutrona said.

The Cougars also hope to have team leader Gerardo Gonzalez back for the final push after missing the past few weeks with a high ankle sprain.

TC spread the wealth around in the shutout over Sequoias with six different players getting goals and three earning assists.

“It’s good to see that we really passed, moved and shared the ball around,” Cutrona said.

Sequoias came out defending from the start.

“They closed it up,” he said.  “That makes it difficult to score when they have all 11 back playing defense.  We made sure we weren’t going to get exposed in the back and let them sneak in for a goal because we were pushing numbers forward.”

But once the Cougars scored the pressure was on the Giants.

“Once we got that first goal it opened up the field even more,” Cutrona said.

Oscar Torres got his fifth goal of the season, Anthony Ulloa and Jose Barrajas each scored their third and Jesus Garcia, Jesus Villalpondo and Jose Tobar each earned their first.

Cougar Men's Soccer Returns to CVC Action
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
October 21, 2013

Taft College men’s soccer coach Angelo Cutrona is preparing his team for a resumption of Central Valley Conference action at the same time keeping an eye on playoff readiness.

One thing he knows for sure: each of the four remaining conference games is a “must-win.”
That’s because the CVC has just four schools with soccer programs: Taft, Fresno, West Hills-Lemoore and Sequoias.

“Because our conference is so small we don’t get many chances,” he said.  “You have a lot more opportunities in big conferences, but in our conference one mistake can ruin you.  Our conference battle is always crazy.  It’s just the four of us trying to kill each other.”

Taft is 0-0-2 after playing to draws with Fresno and West Hills, the latter a match TC was leading 2-0 with 30 minutes left when a red card sent the Cougars down a man and the Golden Eagles rallied.

The Cougars have four CVC tussles left – three of them on the road.

The crucial stretch begins Friday in Visalia against COS (2-9-1), a team that has “always played us tough.  If we’re going to stay in the race we’ll have to put them away. ”

Like this week, the Cougars will have four days to prepare for the final go-round with all three CVC foes.

“It gives us a chance to work on things we’d like to get a handle on,” Cutrona said.  “We know we have to execute down the stretch.”

TC tuned up for the final conference (and playoff) push by defeating San Joaquin Delta College of Stockton here last Friday.

After a scoreless first half the Cougars broke the drought early in the second half, went up 2-0 before allowing “a sloppy goal” by Delta and then clinched it in the late going.

“In the first half we dominated possession even though it was zero-zero.” Cutrona said.  “We just couldn’t put it in the goal.  We went a little more direct and put some numbers forward in the second half.”

Anthony Ulloa scored the first goal after taking a crossing pass from Edgar Rodriguez.

A goal by Oscar Torres made it 2-0 before Delta got its only goal, then Torres sent a pass to Andres Ineguez for the final score.

Once again, the Cougars played without sophomore midfielder Gerardo Gonzalez, the team’s most talked-about player by other coaches.

“Every time we play, coaches ask if he’s going to play,” Cutrona said.  “He’s that kind of player.”

Cougar Soccer Men Aim for Consistency
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
October 17, 2013

Taft College men’s soccer coach Angelo Cutrona believes his team is starting to hit its stride after an uncharacteristically slow start.

The Cougars got a boost of confidence Tuesday when they defeated Modesto Junior College 3-1 in Modesto.  MJC came into the game ranked No. 1 in northern California and No. 4 in the state.

It was the third of four crossover games between the Central Valley Conference and Big 8.  Modesto (9-2-1) was undefeated before losing to Fresno 2-1 and Taft in the last two outings.

“We got off to a really good start,” Cutrona said of Tuesday’s win.  “We put them on their heels early and kept up the pressure.  Our guys definitely had a good attitude.”

He thinks the team is starting to play with more consistency.

“We are really working on being a possession team with a lot of forward play.  We attacked in a lot of spaces that gave us a lot of opportunities in the first half.”

Despite the chances the Cougars managed only one goal but came out strong in the second half and built a 3-0 lead before Cutrona began clearing his bench.

“I took out all of our starters to give the bench some playing time,” he said.  “I thought it was important to show them I have enough confidence in them to put them in a game against a quality team.”

His subs gave up a goal with about five minutes left, “a mistake that was due to their inexperience.  I would have preferred a shutout but felt it was more important to give them that experience.”

Andres Iniguez, Jose Barajas and Diego Casillas got the Cougar goals.  Rogelio Sustaita had two assists and Edgar Rodriguez the third.

The win improved TC’s overall record to 5-5-2 heading into today’s final Big 8 crossover at home against San Joaquin Delta College (5-7-1).

A win over Delta would give the Cougars a 2-2 record against the Big 8, one of the top conferences in northern California.

Late Goal Earns Cougar Tie With Fresno
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
October 4, 2013

Oscar Torres scored a goal with about two minutes remaining Friday that pulled the Taft College men’s soccer team into a 1-1 tie with arch rival Fresno City College.

The tying goal came only minutes after Fresno scored its lone goal.
Anything can happen on corner kicks and throw-ins near the net and that’s what happened in both cases.

The Rams scored on a header off a corner kick.  The Cougars also scored on a header after a throw-in near the Ram goal. 

Rogelio Sustaita got his second assist of the season on Torres’ winning goal.

The teams were evenly matched with much of the match played in the middle of the field.  Both teams threatened but both goalkeepers were up to the task.

J.D. Cisneros had five saves for the Cougars.  He has 25 on the season in 450 minutes of work in the Cougar goal.

TC is now 0-0-2 in the conference (4-3-2 overall) while Fresno is 1-0-1, 7-4-2 overall.

The Cougars take a break from CVC action this week as they begin a series of crossover matches with the Big 8 Conference.  TC hosts American River College of Sacramento Tuesday, October 8 at 3 on the San Emidio Street field and travels north Friday to play Cosumnes River College in rural Sacramento.

Cougar Men's Soccer Hosts Fresno in CVC Match Friday
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
October 3, 2013

The Taft College men’s soccer team hosts Fresno City College today at 3 in a crucial Central Valley Conference match for both schools.

The Cougars are 0-0-1 (4-3-1 overall) after playing West Hills-Lemoore to a 2-2 tie last week while the

Rams are opening the conference season.

Fresno is 6-4-1 overall and ranked fifth in the state and second in northern California.  The Cougars are unranked in the state but 12th in the latest NorCal poll.

The other two CVC members – West Hills and Sequoias – are 5-3-1 and 2-5-1 respectively.

Cougar Soccer Teams Compete at Home
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
September 30, 2013

Taft College’s men’s soccer team has a crucial home match Friday with Central Valley Conference rival Fresno City College.

Fresno (6-4-1) will come into the 3 p.m. match on the San Emidio Street field ranked No. 5 in the state and No. 2 in northern California.

The Cougars (4-3-1, 0-0-1 CVC) are ranked 12th in northern California and coming off a 2-2 tie last Friday against West Hills-Lemoore     95-3-2, 0-0-1 CVC) in the conference opener for both schools.

Fresno and Sequoias open CVC action this week.

The Cougars came away disappointed after their tie with West Hills.

TC led 1-0 at halftime on a goal by Oscar Torres in the 35th minute and 2-0 when Diego Casillas scored a goal in the 70th minute.

The Cougars have a reputation of protecting leads but this time the Golden Eagles came back to tie it on an unassisted goal by Gabriel Viana in the 75th minute and a goal from Blake Windust in the 83rd minute.

Gerardo Gonzalez was credited with the assist on both Cougar goals.

TC goalkeeper J.D. Cisneros had five saves and West Hills’ Luiz Oliveira had six.

Heading into this week the CVC standings look like this:

West Hills 0-0-1 (5-3-2)

Taft 0-0-1 (4-3-1)

Fresno 0-0-0 (6-4-1)

Sequoias (0-0-0 (2-5-1)

The Cougar women, meanwhile, are on the road today for a non-conference match at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga.  They defeated Rio Hondo 1-0 here Friday to improve their record to 6-2-0.  Details were not available.  TC is ranked 11th in northern California.

Defending champion Fresno, ranked 10th in the state and 4th in NorCal, again leads the pack with a 7-1-2 record.  West Hills in 4-2-2 and Sequoias 6-5-1 so an interesting conference race is shaping up.

Cougar's Men Post Victory
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
Sept. 26, 2013

Rogelio Sustaita scored two goals and his teammates played solid defense as the Cougars defeated southern California powerhouse Cerritos College 3-1.

Taft led 1-0 at the half on the strength of Sustaita's goal in the 16th minute after taking a pass from Jose Barajas.

"We played really well in the first half," head coach Angelo Cutrona said.

Although Cerritos (4-2-1) came out aggressive in the second half, Cougar defenders kept the Falcons from threatening.
In the 77th minute Sustaita took a pass from Jordan Reding following a throw-in near the Cerritos goal and sent a header into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

The Falcons turned up the pressure and got their lone goal with three minutes left when the Cougars made a defensive mistake on a corner kick.

Taft added a third goal in the waning moments when the Cerritos goalie knocked down midfielder Gerardo Gonzalez, who had broken free on the left side. That drew a red card, and Edgar Rodriguez drilled home the penalty kick.
TC had 10 shots on goal.

Defensively, the Cougars were stingy, frustrating the Falcons with their quickness.

Goalkeeper J.D. Cisneros recorded four saves.

Cutrona thought the extra practice time from an eight-day layoff helped.

"We were well prepared and the players executed the game plan perfectly," he said. "The extra work helped us focus on the little things. Now it's all about preparing for the Tuesday-Friday (conference) schedule. We don't have any more weekend games."

Cougar's Get Untracked, Beat Canyons 3-1
by Dennis McCall
Daily Midway Driller
Sept. 12, 2013

Taft College’s men’s soccer team showed signs of returning to form Tuesday afternoon when the Cougars scored a 3-1 victory over visiting College of the Canyons to even their early-season record to 2-2.

The Cougars spotted Canyons an early goal, tied the score in the waning moments of the first half and then completely outplayed the visitors in the second half.

The effort – especially the way the team played in the second half – brought a big dose of relief to head coach Angelo Cutrona, who was a bit worried over the uncharacteristically slow start.

“It’s still taking us too long to get into the game,” he said, “but we were much better in the second half.  We controlled the second half very well.  That was nice to see.”

Cutrona is hoping the solid win over Canyons will give the team a lift heading into tonight’s game against Southwestern in the Mt. San Antonio tournament.

At least he’s looking forward to some cooler playing weather.

“We haven’t had a single practice so far this season that has been cool,” he said.  “The prolonged heat is starting to become a factor.”

The team’s other win came under the lights last week at Santa Barbara City College.

After playing Southwestern tonight, the Cougars will take on City College of San Francisco, last year’s state runner-up and a perennial northern California powerhouse.

Sophomore midfielder Brandon Davy gave Canyons the early lead in the 31st minute when he knocked in a ricochet off a free kick that was drilled into a pack of players in front of the Cougar net.

Gerardo Gonzalez, a sophomore midfielder from Wasco, got the Cougars even as time was running out in the first half when he broke free on the right side, took a pass from Brandon Frazier and lined a shot into the left corner of the goal.

That goal put some spark into the Cougars after a slow first half.

Six minutes into the second half freshman midfielder Oscar Torres squirmed free for a clear shot on a pass from Anthony Ulloa to give the Cougars a lead they would never relinquish.

With 10 minutes left Uriel Lopez, a freshman midfielder out of Shafter, clinched it with a nice header from about 20 yards out that sailed over the head of the Canyons keeper.  Oscar Barrientos got the assist.

Cutrona was impressed with the work of goalkeeper J.D. Cisneros, who just joined the team after red-shirting last year.

Cougar Men's Team Looking for Answers
by Matt Henry
Daily Midway Driller
Sept. 9, 2013

The Taft College men’s soccer team – regularly among the state’s elite programs – is searching for answers after an unusually slow start.

The Cougars are 1-2 in the early going after dropping a 3-1 decision last Friday to East Los Angeles College.  Both losses were on the road.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona.  “We got to figure this out.”

One problem could be the reputation Cutrona has built over the past decade. 

Another could be inexperience.  He has only five returnees from a team that was undefeated before falling to eventual state champion Mt. San Antonio in the semifinals.

“You just can’t show up and expect to win,” he said.  “We just didn’t show up the right way.  That’s not a knock on East L.A.  They played well and we didn’t.”

Cutrona felt his team was not prepared for the season opener against Long Beach City College – a 2-1 loss – but came back with a good effort the night before the East L.A. match in a 1-0 win at Santa Barbara City College.

“I don’t know,” he said.  “Maybe by traveling you can use the bus ride to better prepare mentally.  We haven’t played well at all in our two home games.”

He’s hoping for a better effort today when the Cougars host College of the Canyons.

There could be a little rivalry brewing for that one because the Cougars have six players who are familiar with Canyons players because they live in that college’s district but chose to come to TC.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier after that when the team travels to Walnut this weekend to play Southwestern (Friday) and City College of San Francisco (Saturday) in the Mt. SAC tournament.  CCSF was last year’s state runner-up.

The schedule takes another step up after that.
TC will host Mt. SAC Sept. 20 and Cerritos Sept. 24.  Both have won state championships.
“We’ll just have to keep working hard,” Cutrona said.  “We’ve got to find out what it takes to turn things around, but I know we can do that.”

In the win at Santa Barbara freshman forward Anthony Ulloa (Highland High) scored the only goal of the match off an assist from Rogelio Sustaita.  Goalkeeper Marco Vieyra, a freshman from Monache, had five saves to earn the shutout.


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