This week is shaping up as the most important one of the season for the Taft College men’s soccer team with two crucial games – both on the road.
The Cougars head south Tuesday for a non-conference game against Chaffey College (7-2-1) and north Friday for an important Central Valley Conference outing against defending champion Fresno City College (5-3-1).
“This is a crucial week for us,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona, who saw his team improve to 7-0-2 last Friday with a 2-0 win over West Hills-Lemoore in the conference opener for both schools.
For sure, no one is more keyed up about the week than Cutrona.
The Chaffey match-up is personal.
“This one will be for family bragging rights,” he said. “My brother-in-law is the head coach.”
And, to make it more interesting, his sister, Grace Cutrona, is the head coach of Chaffey’s women’s team.
“I was the pioneer in the family in going into coaching,” he said. “We’ve had some success and they have watched us play quite a bit, so they know how we coach and how we play. It should be interesting.”
Chaffey men’s coach Ben Cooper has had some success too.
“They’ve been in the playoffs the last four years,” Cutrona said.
The Fresno game is personal too.
Even though the Cougars always go farther in the playoffs than Fresno, the Rams have snatched the conference crown away the last four years.
“One of our goals this year is to not let that happen again,” he said. “They seem to have a knack for pulling out the win when it counts the most.”
In Friday’s win over West Hills-Lemoore the Cougars dominated throughout with steady play but had trouble finishing their opportunities, especially in the first half.
“It was zero-zero at the end of the first half, and that was a little discouraging and disappointing,” Cutrona said. “We played well and out-possessed them.”
Trevon Demison broke the scoring drought with his goal off an assist from Juan Carlos Gonzalez and Ramiro Barraza sealed it with his goal off a pass from Gerardo Gonzalez.
“We seemed to be playing with a casual attitude, and that really scares me as a coach,” Cutrona said. “But once we got that first goal I knew we were in good shape.
“I felt we dominated the entire game. When it was over I looked at the scoreboard and saw that we out-shot them 18-6. It didn’t seem like we had that many legitimate shots on goal or that they had that many either, but maybe we did.”
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