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Men's soccer: Cougars continue unlikely run

COC upsets Fresno in state semifinal match to advance to championship against Mt. SAC on Sunday

Posted: December 4, 2010 12:07 a.m.
Updated: December 4, 2010 12:07 a.m.

College of the Canyons forward and Golden Valley grad Andres Bueno (10) collides with Fresno defender Liam Hall (6) as Bueno charges at the goal during Friday’s match at COC.

College of the Canyons hasn’t just carved its way through some of the top-ranked men’s soccer teams in California.

It hasn’t just won four straight playoff games, the latest being a 3-0 win over Fresno City College on Friday in the California Community College Athletic Association state semifinals.

The Cougars (17-5-2) have won 11 straight games to rally from a 6-5-2 start to the season and earn a spot in the state championship game against Mt. San Antonio College on Sunday at 10 a.m.

“We’ve been in the playoffs for (11) games now when you think about it,” said head coach Phil Marcellin. “If we didn’t win out in conference, we weren’t in.”

The three most recent wins in the streak were against higher-seeded teams.

The Southern California No. 6 seed COC beat No. 3 seed Cerritos College in the second round and No. 2 seed Santa Ana College in the quarterfinal round. Those victories came before Friday’s win against Northern California’s No. 1 in Fresno City College (15-5-3).

The Cougars scored all three of their goals in the second half, with the first coming off the right foot of Golden Valley graduate Andres Bueno in the 47th minute.

He split two defenders and kicked a 15-yard volley into the lower-left corner of the net.

“You just don’t see goals scored like that very often,” Marcellin said. “That just gave us unbelievable energy.”
It was all COC from there.

Bueno assisted on a second goal 10 minutes later when he fed the ball to fellow Golden Valley High graduate Rafael Fuentes, who scored on a sliding goal.

“I think every man on the field played a career game today,” Marcellin said. “A different guy steps up every match and makes a big contribution, and I think that’s what makes us so tough.”

Sebastian Toro scored the final goal for the Cougars in the 73rd minute, which was assisted by Jorge Serrano.
The Cougars outshot Fresno 18-15 and COC goalkeeper Alex Burkevics had five saves in the match.

On Sunday, the Cougars will go against Mt. San Antonio College, Southern California’s No. 1 seed.

“I have unbelievable respect and admiration for Mt. SAC,” Marcellin said. “They’re the benchmark for every team, not only in the state but in the country.”

If COC wins, it will be its first state championship in program history.

“I’m to a point where I don’t even feel stressed anymore,” Marcellin said of the implications of Sunday’s match. “I just feel excited about what we’re doing.”


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