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.

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