In a seesawing battle, against the Santa Ana Dons, PCC men’s soccer team snatched a 2-2 draw from the jaws of defeat at Robinson Stadium on Friday.
The Lancers didn’t capitalize on early shots at goal and, to make matters worse, allowed the Dons to open their account in the fourth minute. The team’s lack of execution continued for the rest of the half, mainly due to their inability to convert an overflow of possession and countless shots at goal.
“We were consistent, but couldn’t get a goal in and we kind of broke down a little. We were frustrated that we could have scored,” captain George Barba said. “We kept our heads and we pushed everyone to stay positive, so we could keep on attacking.”
The Dons were trying to protect their 1-0 lead before halftime, using some gamesmanship tactics to deliberately slow down the game. The apparent stalling resulted in a few heated words being exchanged with PCC as the teams left the field for the break.
In the 75th minute, freshman and first-time goal scorer Jesse Hernandez tied things up by guiding a header into the net after a spot-on throw-in from defender Barba.
“I’m happy to get the opportunity to score, especially in college,” Hernandez said. “It was physical, but more of a mental game at the end. We’ve got to get back to the fundamentals and play to what we know.”
The Dons scored an unexpected goal in the 89th minute due to some rare clumsy work by Pasadena’s goalkeeper David Orellana. Santa Ana’s initial strike was fumbled by the goalie, which resulted in a rebound and an ensuing goal.
It seemed like this goal was the final nail in the coffin for PCC, as the SA bench celebrated in a presumptuous fashion. Briley Venti and Barba had other ideas.
With two minutes left on the clock, Barba rallied his troops with vigor and certainty. He could sense the Lancers needed a lift.
“I was calm, relaxed and didn’t crack under pressure, which is the usual for me,” Barba said.
Forward Venti forced the only penalty kick of the match with some tenacious attack. The Dons’ keeper walked a very thin line by remonstrating face to face with the referee, but to no avail. Barba stepped up to take the penalty kick and made no mistake, which turned the dogfight into a 2-2 draw.
The Lancers have an away game against San Diego Mesa College on Monday at 5 p.m.