Comets snatch draw in final minutes

The Comets men’s soccer team celebrates their last minute goal during CCC’s 1-1 draw against American River College at the Soccer Field on Sept. 16.

By Robert Clinton, Staff Writer

Contra Costa College (2-3-1) defensively dominant, but a sloppy play led to allowing a goal in a 1-1 tie against American River College (0-4-2) Sept. 16 at the Soccer Field.

Comet goalie Jose Ayala noticed mental lapses in the CCC defensive front. He pointed out gaps, barked orders and designated position shifts — but a careless Comet pass attempt at midfield put the ball at the feet of Beaver forward Eddie Arreola.

Ayala said, “I wanted our guys to put more pressure on them, and fight for the ball.”

Arreola, now in control of the ball blew past the Comet defense and into the box before any players in blue were out of the midfield area.

The streaking Beaver was now one on one with Ayala. The Comet goalie shifted the weight to the balls of his feet in preparation for a goal that could come from any direction.

Fleet of foot, the forward faked a hard shot to the right, forcing Ayala to his left. The Beaver then flicked the ball behind his left heel, and with a tap of his left foot snuck the ball into the net just past the Comet goalie’s right ankle. CCC went into the half down 1-0.

The Comet defense stifled the Beaver attack throughout the first half of the contest. Capitalizing on that effort was a different story as CCC only mustered a handful of potential goal scoring shots.

Emerging from the break with a tweak in the lineup, and a slightly altered game plan was CCC.

“After halftime we subbed in some different players and we went with more of an attacking mentality,” Comet assistant coach Andres Orejula said.

CCC’s renewed offensive mentality would put ARC goalie Jacob Werner to the test. After suffering through the sparse number of meaningful shot attempts in the first half (4) the Comets opened up passing lanes in the middle and tested Werner 10 times in the second.

CCC forward Ogheneyengbame Akpojiyovbi was a big part of the Comet offensive resurgence in the final period. He adeptly maneuvered the ball through the Beaver defensive middle, checking out to right wing Missael Hernandez, then settling back down in the middle to receive the assist for the squad’s only goal.

As the tension mounted, and the game’s final moments waned Hernandez and squad were able to work their way back into the attacking middle. Just in time for Akpojiyovbi to fire a missile that ricocheted off of a Beaver defender and into the back of the net.

“I just wanted it to go in,” Akpojiyovbi said. “We made some changes at halftime, and just came out motivated and ready to play.”

The back and forth action and jockeying for position continued for both teams, as no ground would be gained easily this afternoon. An ARC shot attempt brought the crowd to its feet but a streaking Comet defender, Bradley Alman, protected the net and jettisoned the ball out of the field of play just in time.

The Comet staff was pleased with the team‘s effort to finish the game. “I liked the way we played in the second half,” said Orejula. “It was a sloppy play that caused the first goal, after that they really came out and worked hard.”

The soccer team is back at it again against Chabot College Friday at 4 p.m. at the Soccer Field.