Taft College Cougars Women Soccer


The Taft College women’s soccer program began its inaugural season in 2006. Over the past years the program has earned recognition competing against some of the top teams in the northern region and the state. Taft College has provided a soccer home for those young athletes who aspire to grow and become competitors at the collegiate level. The program is designed to enhance our athletes mental, physical, and technical skill through a sport-specific conditioning program, weight training, and intense practices throughout the pre-season, season, and post-season. The aim is not only to have a successful season, but to assist athletes in their pursuit of competing beyond the community college level.

The staff is comprised of coaches who care for the development of their athletes on and off the field. They put a strong emphasis toward education and believe that the student comes before the athlete. In conjunction with the athletic department and athletic advisor, the coaches work toward ensuring their athletes are ready to transfer academically to a four-year institution.

We would like to invite any and all student-athletes who seek a program that is dedicated to the success of its participants. We will do our best to make your experience here at Taft College one that you will not forget nor regret. Come out and become a part of an exciting team and family!!!

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's Women Blank Sequoias, Stay on top in CVC
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 2, 2015

Following up on their stunning victory over the No. 1 team in the nation, the Taft College women’s soccer team coasted to a 6-0 home victory Thursday over College of the Sequoias.

The win keeps the Cougars on top of the Central Valley Conference at 4-0, 10-5-1 overall heading down the home stretch of the regular season.

It will be hard not to look ahead to the regular season finale Nov. 15 when the Cougars host Fresno City College – the team they beat a week ago that sent shockwaves through the state.

TC will tune up for that finale by hosting once-beaten Moorpark College (9-1-6) today in a non-conference match and taking a trip to Lemoore Friday to play winless West Hills.

In the win over Sequoias the Cougars got a balanced scoring effort with three goals in each half.
Sierra Sagasta scored her sixth and seventh goals of the season and added her third assist to pace the Cougar offense. Arielle Stoyanow got her sixth goal.

The Cougars wasted little time getting on the board when Sagasta took a pass from Lydia Nava and found the back of the net two minutes in.

Sagasta got credit for the assist when Alexia Gonzalez scored her fourth goal in the 15th minute to make it 2-0.

In the waning moments of the first half Trina Leija scored her first goal of the season off a pass from Ariel Manzano.

Sagasta scored her second goal of the match in the 65th minute off an assist from Carla Salazar, and Stoyanow took a pass from Robyn Peiler in the 74th for Taft’s fifth goal.

Moani Rivers scored the final goal in the 89th minute with the assist going to Shandy Hopeau.
Freshman goalkeeper Alexandria Benevidez recorded her fifth consecutive shutout by stopping all three Sequoias shots on goal.

TC took 23 shots on goal, keeping COS keeper Anna Covarrubias busy with 17 saves.
The match was originally scheduled for Nov. 6 but changed because COS coach Osama Hamid, who is also a professor, had a scheduling conflict.

CVC Standings
Taft 4-0 (10-5-1)
Fresno 2-1 (12-1-3)
Sequoias 1-3 (5-11)
West Hills 0-3 (0-11)

Cougar's Knock off Nation's Number 1
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 29, 2015

Alexandria Benevidez has a fat lip. And, she’s very proud of it.

The goalkeeper on the Taft College women’s soccer team took a hard foul Tuesday afternoon in a match against Fresno City College, the No. 1 team in America and California.

“It’s OK because we scored a goal,” she said.

“Alex was hacked pretty hard,” said Cougar coach Myisha Cutrona. “She did a fantastic job. She’s become more aggressive coming off the line and it paid off.”

Arielle Stoyanow’s penalty kick after Benevidez was fouled found the back of the net for the lone goal of the Central Valley Conference match.

It was a stunner. Fresno was undefeated, No. 1 in the state and nation and playing on its home turf.

The goal came in the 28th minute so Fresno had plenty of time to come back but Benevidez didn’t let that happen.

She racked up 13 saves over the course of the match.

“It was her fourth straight shutout,” Cutrona said. “She’s getting more confident all the time.”

But Benevidez prefers to give credit to her teammates.

“Our defenders are playing so well,” she said. “We just had to set our minds to getting it done.”
Benevidez is a freshman from Porterville High who considered playing at Fresno before being contacted by Cutrona.

“When I talked to her she was just so enthusiastic about the program here, so I decided to come to Taft. It was the best decision I ever made.”

The Cougars are in the driver’s seat in the CVC now at 3-0 (9-5-1 overall) with a home match against Sequoias (2-1, 5-10) and a road outing at West Hills-Lemoore Nov. 10 before a regular season showdown at home Nov. 13 against Fresno.

“We know they will want revenge,” Benevidez said. “They have a lot of players. They rotate fresh legs into the game and wear you down. We will need a lot of stamina to offset their strength.”

Cutrona is looking for a strong finish and hoping the Cougars will be able to host a first round playoff on Nov. 21.

“We’ve never done that, so it would be nice,” she said.

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.

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.