Men’s soccer: The kings without crowns

Despite not lifting a trophy, there was still a lot that are worth cheering for


Christie Yeung

Sophomore forward Andrew Vazquez (14) attempting to score with a header.

Even though the Mounties were denied the silverware this season, the hard work and sweat that were shed onto the field every game was undeniable. They were runner-up in both the South Coast Conference Tournament and the California Community College Athlete Association State Championship. The team finished with a 17-7-2 overall record and 5-3-1 in their conference.

It was a rough start for the Mounties as they lost their season opener against the American River Beavers, 3-2. Then they bounced back to win three straight including two in the Mt. SAC/Nike/Azteca Tournament. However, they would fail to extend the winning streak with a bitter loss in the overtime to a non-conference opponent, Richland Thunderducks.

After that defeat, the Mounties went on a seven-game winning streak which included defeating the Oxnard Condors, 3-0, and Rio Hondo Roadrunners, 2-1, whom they would meet again in the playoffs.

But that winning streak was stopped by the CCCAA No. 1 ranked Cerritos Falcons. All the goals were scored in the first half with the Falcons leading 2-1. This game was stretched into a two-day contest because of a thunderstorm with a lightning strike happening toward the end of the first half. The second half of the game was postponed to the next day and the Mounties still could not find another goal.

The Mounties celebrate a goal with a group hug. (Christie Yeung)

Then the Mounties would suffer their first back-to-back loss since the 2015 season to the Long Beach Vikings. They could not hold on to their first half 2-1 lead and the Vikings would find ways to score two more to win the game 3-2.

The Mounties found their scoring boots in the next two games. Crushing the East Los Angeles Huskies, 6-0, and the Pasadena Lancers, 7-1. But then went on another slump with a 0-1 loss to the El Camino Warriors and a 0-0 tie against the Los Angeles City Cubs.

But then they ended the season on a high note by demolishing the LA Harbor Seahawks’ defense with a 6-0 win.

Heading into the SCC Tournament semifinal, the Mounties already defeated the Rio Hondo Roadrunners once, and they would do it again, this time with an even more convincing score of 4-1 to head to the final to face the Cerritos Falcons.

Sophomore forward Andrew Vazquez (14) trying to hold possession by the sideline. (Christie Yeung)

The Mounties lost to the Falcons earlier in the season and looked to avenge this time, especially with the SCC title at stake. Yet, the Mounties would fall short again. Chasing from behind since the 14th minute. Although sophomore forward Andrew Vazquez (14) would equalize the game in the following minute, the Falcons would take the lead again before halftime and extended their lead further about halfway through the second half. Sophomore forward Edward Castro (11) scored one back shortly after but the Mounties were still behind 3-2 until the final whistle.

Even though it was hard to swallow, the Mounties had to adjust and focus on the next big prize, the CCCAA State Championship.

In the second round of the CCCAA SoCal Regional, the Mounties faced the Santa Ana Dons. It was a tough battle as 90 minutes of regulation was not enough to determine a winner. It wasn’t until the second overtime that Vazquez (14) scored the winning goal in the 110th minute to help the Mounties move on to the next round to face the El Camino Warriors.

Sophomore forward Edward Castro (11) attempts to dribble pass the defense toward the goal. (Christie Yeung)

The Mounties had lost to the Warriors during their first meeting. However, this time the result was in the Mounties’ favor, but it wasn’t easy. It was tied 2-2 by the end of regulation and scoreless through overtime. So, it had to be decided at the penalty spots where the Mounties won 5-3.

For the third time this season, the Mounties met the Cerritos Falcons. After losing the SCC title to the Falcons last time, there was more reason to win this time, especially for a chance at the state championship. And the third time was the charm for the Mounties as they were able to defeat the Falcons in a double-overtime thriller. A goal from sophomore midfielder Alex Mendez (10) sent the Falcons home and the Mounties to the CCCAA State semifinal.

The Mounties traveled to the state’s capital, Sacramento, to face their next opponent, the Taft Cougars. Vazquez (10) scored at the end of the first half to put the Mounties up 1-0 and that was enough to lead the team to the CCCAA State Championship game.

The Oxnard Cougars would be the only team left that stood in the way between the Mounties and the state champion title. Although the Mounties had defeated the Cougars before by handing them their first and only loss of the season, it didn’t mean the same would happen at this stage.

And it didn’t.

The Cougars took the lead 21 minutes into the first half. The Mounties fought hard to level the field and their hard work paid off as Vazquez (14) earned a penalty kick just before halftime, Mendez (10) stepped up and tied the game at 1-1 to end the half. Then with less than five minutes left in the game, the Cougars managed to find the back of the net that became the game-winner for them. The final score Mounties lost 1-2.

Even though the Mounties couldn’t repeat as the back-to-back state champions, being runner-up for both the SSC Championship and CCCAA State Championship is still remarkable. With or without the trophy, the Mounties have the hearts of the champions.