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COC notebook: Cougars football learns bowl fate

College of the Canyons will play in Golden Empire Bowl; golf team ready for state

Posted: November 14, 2010 8:51 p.m.
Updated: November 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons’ football team visited Bakersfield College for its regular-season finale.

Now, the Cougars will head back up to Bakersfield — for their bowl game.

College of the Canyons will square off against Fullerton College in the Golden Empire Bowl, which will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday at Bakersfield College’s Memorial Stadium.

Cougars head coach Garett Tujague said the team found out its postseason destination on Sunday afternoon.

Despite missing out on the Southern California playoffs, Tujague said the bowl experience will be valuable.

“That’s the best way to look at it,” he said. “The whole idea of a bowl game is to have fun and the opportunity to get extra practice and 60 minutes of football in pads.”

Fullerton College reached the SoCal semifinals the last two seasons, and this season the Hornets are 6-4 and 3-2 in the National Division, Southern Conference.

Tujague said there are several similarities between Fullerton and his team, which also wound up 6-4 and 3-2 in the National Division, Northern Conference.

“They came in third place in their side of the division as well,” he said. “They played the same evenly matched teams that we’ve played. They’re similar to us in that they’ve played some big games and won and played some big games and lost.”

The Golden Empire Bowl is one of Southern California’s seven bowl games. In last year’s Golden Empire Bowl, Bakersfield College beat Allan Hancock 24-21 thanks to a last-second field goal.

COC lost 31-20 to Saddleback College in the 2009 Western State Bowl.

Two other fall sports teams at COC will take part in their respective state championships this week, while the men’s and women’s soccer teams finished their regular seasons.

Here’s a look at how COC teams fared last week.

Women’s Golf

The women’s golf team finished second at the Southern California Regionals last Monday to qualify for the California Community College Athletic Association Championship, a two-day event that begins at 10 a.m. today in Chino Hills.

The Cougars are trying to win their first state title since 2007.

“We worked hard to get ourselves in this situation, we’re in this situation and now we’ve just got to do the job,” said head coach Gary Peterson.

College of the Canyons shot a two-day score of 653 at the SoCal Regionals, finishing second behind Irvine Valley College’s 632.

Taylor Gould’s two-day total of 161 led the Cougars, while Tiara Wells shot a 163, Hannah Lee fired a 164 and Brittney Suarez shot a 177.

“Irvine Valley played really well and we didn’t play as well as we could,” Peterson said. “But there are four teams left. We just finished a really good practice round, and the girls are all up and ready to go.”

Peterson said the moment is hitting his team as well — not in terms of pressure, but in terms of the realization that the season is almost over.

The course, on the other hand, shouldn’t be as difficult to deal with. Peterson said that four members of his team have played the course before, and two were able to get practice rounds under their belt this past week.

“It’s a doable course,” he said. “I think scores are going to be pretty low. With the depth that we have and the attitude we’re carrying into the final round, I feel very confident.”

Cross Country

Both the men’s and women’s teams had the week off as they prepare for the CCCAA Cross Country Championship, which will take place on Saturday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

The 3.1-mile women’s race will go off at 10 a.m., while the four-mile men’s race is scheduled for 11 a.m.

The teams qualified at the SoCal Championships in San Diego on Nov. 6. The men finished 16th, while the women finished 17th.

Men’s Soccer

The Cougars finished the regular season on a seven-game win streak dating back to Oct. 22.

This past week, they beat Santa Barbara 2-0 on Tuesday and Oxnard by the same score on Friday.

College of the Canyons finished 14-5-2 and 10-3-2 in the Western State Conference, and it will likely take part in the CCCAA South Regional playoffs.

Last season, the Cougars advanced to the South Regional semifinals before falling to Santa Ana College.

Women’s Soccer

In the last week of the season, the Cougars beat Glendale 2-1 on Tuesday and lost 1-0 to Bakersfield on Friday.

COC ends the season at 12-8-2 and 8-7 in the Western State Conference, but it did not reach the playoffs.

Head coach Justin Lundin said the defense and goalkeeping were solid all season, but the offense couldn’t find ways to take the pressure off the Cougars’ net.

“(We struggled) without someone up top who could hold the ball we could play off of,” he said, “not just someone who can finish but can possess the ball and give us an opportunity to control the ball in a different area.”

The Cougars spent almost the entire season without freshman forward Elvia Contreras, a Canyon High graduate who figured to play a key role in the offense. Contreras got hurt in the first match.

Still, Contreras and nine other members of the team will be eligible to return next season.

Men’s Basketball

The Cougars fell 98-67 to Saddleback College on the road Thursday in their only game of the week.

Sophomore forward Parker Dominguez, a Hart High graduate led the team with 12 points and also recorded six rebounds. Freshman forward and Canyon High graduate Wesley Bartole had 11 points and eight boards.

COC (2-1) was undone by Saddleback’s 61.1 percent clip from downtown and 55.6 percent shooting overall. They were also outrebounded 50-33.

The Cougars return to action this week in the Toyota Classic at Irvine Valley, which begins on Thursday and lasts through Saturday.

Women’s Basketball

The COC women had the week off after finishing third at the Mt. San Antonio College Tip-Off tournament last weekend.

Sophomore guard Dominique Turner averaged almost 13 points per game over victories against Compton and Riverside and a loss to San Bernardino. She was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts.

The Cougars will travel to face Cypress College at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.


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