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College soccer: COC’s hopes take a hit

Cougars fall to WSC second place Santa Barbara

Posted: November 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons goalkeeper Alex Burkevics, far left, knocks down a shot as teammates Robert Hill, center, and Jessie Romero (3) help defend on Tuesday at College of the Canyons. Santa Barbara’s Roberto Santana (2) and Duran Stanley (15) join the action.

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College of the Canyons men’s soccer goalie Alex Burkevics made fives saves to keep the Cougars close in their match with Santa Barbara City College on Tuesday afternoon at COC, but a second-half goal by the Vaqueros propelled Santa Barbara to a 1-0 victory.

The Cougars (6-4-5, 4-4-2) struggled early to string passes together, resulting in numerous opportunities for Santa Barbara (12-1-4, 9-1-1) in transition.

“Most of their chances were from counter attacks,” Burkevics said. “For the most part, they weren’t good shots.”

But only one of those had to find the back of the net on Tuesday.

Santa Barbara sent the ball into the box off a direct kick in the 52nd minute that was deflected out to the feet of the Vaqueros’ John-Joe Slater.

Slater sent the ball flying from the top of the box before it dipped over Burkevics for the only goal of the game.

“That’s probably a shot he can convert one out of 50 times,” said College of the Canyons head coach Phil Marcellin.

Despite the setback, in the second half the Cougars came out with more intensity than they had shown in the first, posting five second-half shots. Included in that was a header in the box by Manny Padron off a direct kick from Victor Rodriguez that nearly scored the equalizer late in the second half.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, COC couldn’t find the back of the net, despite its late opportunities.

After taking the lead, the Vaqueros played defensively, sitting back in Canyons’ zone and taking their opportunities in transition.

In the end, the strategy proved successful as the Vaqueros secured the shutout after weathering a late Canyons’ push.

“We knew Canyons was going to step it up (after the goal),” said Santa Barbara head coach John Sisterson. “We knew we had to weather the storm early to get any sort of result in the match. And once we got that goal, it gave us that belief.”

For the Vaqueros, goalie Yonha Adrabi never made a save despite pitching the shutout — as none of Canyons’ five shots found the goal.

And for the Cougars, the result could have been worse, as Padron headed out a potential goal during extra time in the first half by Santa Barbara’s Jorge Gomez.

The loss further diminishes College of the Canyons’ chances of making the playoffs, but Marcellin isn’t ready to give up on the season just yet.

“This is a really important game for us,” Marcellin said. “We had to win our last four (matches) to have a good shot at playoffs — but I think we still have a chance.”

Now the Cougars will turn their attention toward Glendale College at COC on Friday at 4 p.m., when their playoff hopes may truly be on the line.

“Our ultimate goal is to get to the postseason,” Marcellin said. “We’re going to come out and work hard for Glendale on Friday,”

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