Taft College men’s soccer team ran its string of shutouts to six in a row Friday, but faces two stiff challenges this week.
The Cougars got goals from leading scorer Ramiro Barraza and Gerardo Gonzalez and a stingy defensive effort that has become a trademark of this year’s team to score a 2-0 win over visiting Cosumnes River College.
It was the second of four crossover games against teams from the Big 8 Conference.
TC has two more this week and both figure to be tougher than last Friday’s.
“We have to be careful,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona as the Cougars get ready to host Modesto today at 3:00 and play San Joaquin Delta in Stockton Friday. “These are power point teams for us.”
State rankings, which will determine playoff seedings next month, are determined by a power rating system.
TC had been No. 1 in the state and the northern region but slipped to No. 2 in both when City College of San Francisco earned more power points on Friday.
“We have to be well balanced,” Cutrona said. “Modesto doesn’t let in many goals.”
The Pirates (8-4-2) are ranked No. 9 in northern California.
When the Cougars travel to play Delta, Cutrona expects the grass to be a little taller.
“They have nice grass and they tend to overgrow it to slow us down,” he said.
“We have scored in every single game so we know the firepower is there as long as we limit the other team’s chances.”
That has been the Cougars’ staple.
They have scored 13 goals in their last six outings, but haven’t given up any.
Gerardo Gonzalez scored the first goal against Cosumnes River (3-8-3) in the 19th minute after charging in from the right side. He took a crossing pass from Charlie Gonzalez just outside the box and rifled it past the goalkeeper.
It was his fifth goal of the season and the third assist for Charlie Gonzalez.
Barraza got his 14th goal of the season when he followed a shot by Roberto Mariscal that was deflected by the keeper.
“The keeper saved it (Mariscal’s shot) but it left Ramiro wide open to score,” Cutrona said.
Barraza ranks fourth in the state in scoring.
Roberto Gonzales had four saves in goal for the Cougars in his 70 minutes of work. Ivan Sanchez finished up, but the TC defenders didn’t let Cosumnes River threaten over the remaining 20 minutes.
Page 2 of 2 - “Overall, we didn’t play particularly well,” Cutrona said. “I think we fell into complacency a little bit. I try to tell (our players) not to overlook anyone, but I think they didn’t take things as serious as they should.”
Women beat COS
The Cougar women, meanwhile, opened Central Valley Conference play earlier in the day with a 2-1 victory over College of the Sequoias.
They’ll try to make it two in a row today when they travel to Lemoore to play West Hills College.
The win boosted the Cougar record to 5-6-2.
But the victory could be costly.
Leading scorer Joanna Espinoza rolled an ankle and will miss today’s game.
Head coach Myisha Cutrona hopes she’s available for Friday’s 1 p.m. home match-up with defending conference champion Fresno.
Espinoza scored her eighth goal of the season in the opening minutes of the game after taking a pass from Daisy Guitron.
“Joanna is hungry to go to the goal, and that’s how she got hurt,” Cutrona said. “She ran at the keeper and rolled her ankle pretty bad.”
Monica Cisneros scored what proved to be the winning goal off a pass from Selina Molina.
Angelica Garcia had three saves for the Cougars.
Cutrona gave her player of the game award to freshman midfielder Kaylnn Talalotu-Kealoha for her outstanding defensive work.
“She had a phenomenal game,” she said. “She was our sweeper and was very impressive. She has stepped up and become a leader.”