Squad repeats as conference champs

By Efrain Valdez, Social Media Editor

The men’s soccer team finished the 2016 season as back-to-back Bay Valley Conference champions with an overall record of 12-8-2.

For the entirety of the season, the team went through periods of adversity, first with a seven-game losing streak, followed by an eight-game winning streak to end the regular season.

“The preseason is to see what level we are on and to compare ourselves to the best teams in the state,” men’s soccer coach Nikki Ferguson said. “The game against Fresno City College at the Lake Tahoe tournament was a real wake up call for us.”

In the first game of the season the Comets played against Fresno  where the team lost 9-3 in a blowout.

In that game, most of the damage happened in the first half.

“Games like those really help us measure ourselves against the rest of the state and it prepares us for the postseason,” Ferguson said.

He said that having a team with only two returning starters was tough because of the inexperience that was on the field to start a game of that magnitude.

That loss provided a learning platform for the young team which rebounded to win the last two games of the tournament.

During the losing streak, the Comets lost against some tough opposition from all around Northern California. Teams like Las Positas College, City College of San Francisco and Evergreen Valley College were all teams that Ferguson scheduled to get his team ready for the rigors of BVC play.

“I think we can compete with those teams, it’s just that the end results of those early games didn’t reflect that,” Comet defender Eduardo Lara said.

After a slow start to begin conference play, CCC tied 1-1 against Merritt College and lost 2-1 to Mendocino College. The Comets gained confidence by beating up on two weaker teams, Yuba College and the College of Marin, coming away with 3-0 victories against each.

“Our team had a very challenging preseason schedule and the young team had to adjust to the college game,” Ferguson said.

Those games against the weaker teams in the conference helped the team gain confidence in putting the ball in the back of the net.

The Comets created a healthy number of scoring opportunities throughout the entirety of the season, however the team couldn’t convert at a consistent rate during the preseason losing streak.

“When we started finding the back of the net, the results started coming,” Ferguson said.

“We wanted to outdo ourselves and do more than just repeat as conference champions and make history for this program,” Escamilla said.

Even though the team managed a big winning streak at the end of the season, Napa Valley College stayed on CCC’s tail until the final conference game.

It set up a night where the winner of the game would take the BVC and clinch a spot in the playoffs.

The Comets beat Napa 1-0, with a stoppage time goal, in the last game of the season to secure the BVC title.

More importantly, the team played its best soccer in a winner-take-all, high-pressure game.

Ferguson said the team worked past challenges and that they were just happy to be the driver’s seat going into playoffs regardless of their seed.

“We just had to make the most of this chance,” Ferguson said.

CCC had been ousted in the state playoffs in the first round in over the last two seasons before facing De Anza College this season. The Dons were considered a favorite to beat the Comets.

CCC was oozing with confidence before the game, but it was not enough to beat the Dons. De Anza scored three set pieces against the Comets in the game and took the contest, 3-1.