Taft College is in a bit of a rut – a nice rut.
The undefeated Cougar men’s soccer team on Friday won its fourth consecutive game by a 2-0 score. And, all have been on the road.
This time it was a satisfying victory over Central Valley Conference archrival Fresno City College to boost the Cougars to 9-0-2 on the season and, more importantly, 2-0 in the conference.
Head coach Angelo Cutrona will be happy with another 2-0 win Tuesday when the Cougars take their seventh straight road trip to Sacramento to take on American River College (6-5-2) in a conference crossover match.
The thing that most worries him is overconfidence.
“The villain for us will always be complacency,” he said. “I’m always looking for our guys to be calm, cool and sharp. We have to go into every game with that mindset. I think everybody understands what’s at stake.”
It was that approach that carried the Cougars to the win over Fresno.
“That was a big test for us,” he said. “It’s very difficult to win in Fresno. It wasn’t a fluke. Our boys went in there an made a statement.”
Cutrona said the Cougars controlled the tempo and didn’t allow the Rams to counterattack.
“Fresno sat back and defended,” he said. “At times they had eight players in the back. They use their size and strength to defend and then look for opportunities to counterattack, but we didn’t give them an opportunity.”
It was scoreless until moments before the halftime whistle when Tervon Demison scored on a header off a pass from Ramiro Barraza.
“That goal came at a perfect time and solidified what we were trying to do,” Cutrona said. “It you don’t score there are no brownie points.”
Demison’s goal forced Fresno to completely change its strategy for the second half, he said.
“They came out with a completely different lineup with three forwards up top to apply more pressure. We never gave them any real opportunities.”
Edgar Placensia, a sophomore midfielder from Wasco, scored the clincher on a shot from about 25 yards out after taking a pass from Jose Gonzalez.
Roberto Gonzalez, a sophomore from Taft High, recorded his fourth shutout in a row with five saves. He ranks 10th in the state among goalkeepers.
Fresno, the defending CVC champion, saw its record slip to 1-1 in the conference and 6-4-1 overall.
Page 2 of 2 - Despite the win, the Cougars slipped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the state power rankings.
City College of San Francisco moved into the top spot with a scoreless tie against No. 5 Hartnell College.
After making the trip to play American River, the remainder of the schedule favors the Cougars. Six of their eight matches are at home.