Defensive flaws exposed in nailbiting BVC defeat

By Luis Cortes, Sports Editor

The men’s soccer team (1-10 overall, 1-1 in the Bay Valley Conference) continued its slow crawl toward the win column with a nail-biting 3-2 loss Oct. 1 against Yuba College in Marysville.

After beginning conference play with a victory, CCC looked to follow up its first win with another victory against Napa Valley College (3-5-1 overall, 2-0 in the BVC) in the team’s first home conference game of the season.

Friday’s game began with Napa Valley taking an early 1-0 lead in the game — less than two minutes into the game with forward William Biondini scoring his first goal of the season.

CCC attempted to mount a counterattack, but was unsuccessful in doing so.

CCC captain Brandon Barajas said his team did not like coach Rudy Zeller’s playing style, so the team decided to switch its playing style in the second half to assistant coach Diego Garcia’s style of play.

“From day one, it didn’t click. He came in with a coaching mentality we did not expect,” Barajas said. “We expected a disciplined coach, a tactical coach. He said he’s been coaching for over 40 years, so the things we practiced made sense, but it doesn’t fit what we like to do. His style involves playing the long ball most of the time, while we are accustomed to playing one or two touches.

“We’ll look to play like we played in the second half the rest of the season — our all-around soccer will be better,” Barajas said.

The Comets return to action Friday against the College of Marin at 4 p.m. in Kentfield.

The Storm took a 2-0 lead with a cross to the second post of the goal. Napa defender Julio Alonzo scored with a diving volley, scissor style kick to put CCC two goals down before even playing 30 minutes.

The Comets’ struggle continued throughout the first half of the contest, however, the team’s woes were not due to a lack of effort.

CCC had a great counter-attack led by Nick Silva, who spun his way past a Napa defender, passed the ball to a teammate and pushed 20 yards up field. His effort came to waste after a bad pass back to Silva doomed the play.

For CCC, problems continued to pile up.

Napa was awarded a direct free kick on the penalty box after CCC freshman Jorge Garcia committed a foul while attempting to clear the ball with his head.

Napa captain Jesus Ochoa lined up and connected with a hard-hit ball, forcing it past CCC goalkeeper Orlando Perez’s right side.

Napa took a 3-0 lead after taking just four shots on goal.

Confusion took over the game following a similar to the previous infraction committed by Napa. With 18 minutes left in the first half, a Napa forward jumped up and fouled Comet Christian Diaz who fell hard and looked to be hurt on the ground.

No whistle was blown.

A small crowd of CCC players gathered around the referee asking why that wasn’t a foul, with support from the home crowd and Comet coaches.

Comet sophomore Ryan Fretwell was one of the first players to speak with the referee after the foul.

Unfortunately, confusion continued when with 17:26 to play in the first half the referee got involved in the play when Silva passed the ball while under pressure to his right side, when he was near Napa’s penalty arc right next to the official.

While suffering an undisclosed medical episode during play on the field, the referee stuck his right leg out and stopped the ball, then passed it back to Silva who was now next to the official.

Everyone in attendance was dumbfounded.

The game was stopped while the referee was attended to by an athletic trainer and his two linesmen ran to the visiting team bleachers to consult with a referee observer who was present for this game.

He told one of the linesmen to just start the game and worry about questions later.

The referee was diagnosed with an undisclosed health problem and the game was halted for about six minutes.

Napa scored its third goal of the match 10 minutes into the second half when William Biondini finished off a great fake before going around CCC’s goalkeeper Perez.