After upsetting some of the finest competition in Southern California, the Lancers’ men’s soccer team finally fell to Oxnard on Saturday, 4-1, ending their three-round playoff run.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Lancers were awarded a deciding penalty kick in extra time, allowing them to beat Chaffey 1-0. PCC had already beaten Chaffey three times over the course of the season, so a win was to be expected.
However, from then on the competition only got steeper. Their first real test came against Golden West College, who came into the game with a clean record (14-0-7).
While the Lancers got on the board within the first 10 minutes of the game, Golden West responded with three unanswered goals. The Lancers’ defense had no answer for Golden West’s Anthony Saldana, who scored back-to-back goals for Golden West in two minutes.
Down 3-1 early in the first half, the Lancers needed a goal before halftime if they wanted to mount a comeback.
Before the whistle blew to end the half, sophomore forward Oscar Vanegas broke through the defense and set up teammate Artin Almary for the goal to bring the Lancers within one.
Going into halftime, the Lancers put themselves in a good position to pull off the comeback. However, they did not show signs of life on the offensive end until it was almost too late.
At the 89th minute, Manuel Chavez tied the game with a beautiful free kick from about 20 yards out. But with time running down, it looked like the Lancers were headed to extra time for the second consecutive game.
That was until Sarmeen Ibrahim ended the game in the final minute with a desperation header that somehow found the back of the net.
The Lancers won 4-3. Up next was Oxnard, who took home the 2015 CCCAA Championship last year.
Unlike the game against Golden West, the Lancers were slow to start and didn’t get their first goal until the 22nd minute of the game. By then, Oxnard had already piled on two goals.
Oxnard ended the first half with a demoralizing third goal, giving them a 3-1 lead going into halftime.
Going into the second half, the Lancers needed a few quick goals and a strong performance on the defensive end. While the Lancers held Oxnard scoreless for a large part of the second half, they could not get anything going on the other end.
Oxnard added their fourth and final goal in the 79th minute of the game. The Lancers lost 4-1.
Oxnard proved to be a tough opponent for the Lancers earlier in the season when they beat PCC 2-1 at Oxnard.
Perhaps things would have gone the Lancers’ way if they were playing at home. The Lancers only lost two games at home this season and finished the season in the top 5 in CCCAA home attendance. The Lancers could not play at PCC’s Robinson Stadium because the field is not CCCAA regulation size.
For a team that came into the season with tempered expectations after a rough 2015-16 campaign and a head coaching change, the Lancers made some noise in the highly competitive SCC North Conference.
With a young team and an inspiring head coach in Henry Cabral, they have the chance to do more of the same next season.