Taft College is taking a workmanlike approach to the state soccer championships that get underway this afternoon.
That’s the assessment of head coach Angelo Cutrona, who sends his No. 1-ranked team into action at 4 p.m. against three-time defending champion Mt. San Antonio College on the Mounties home field in the southland city of Walnut.
“It’s been very, very businesslike,” Cutrona said of practice this week in preparation for what the Cougars hope will be the school’s second state title.
They won it in 2007 and played in the championship game in 2006, losing to Cerritos, and again in 2009, losing to Mt. SAC. It was the first of three straight for the Mounties (19-3-1).
“I really like my guys,” Cutrona said. “On the field they are all business. They fool around before and after practice, but during practice it’s all business. I want them to go in with no fear. We’re the team that’s No. 1. We just need to do what we’ve been doing.”
Practice this week has been no different than any other, Cutrona said.
“Sure, we do some things from a tactical standpoint because of our opponent, but that’s what we do every week during the season,” he said. “My guys want to be pushed, and that makes my job really easy.”
Taft is the No. 1 north seed and Mt. SAC the No. 3 south seed.
The other game, which will be played simultaneously on an adjacent field, pits No. 1 south seed Golden West against No. 2 north City College of San Francisco.
The survivors will meet Sunday at 10 a.m. in the championship game.
A storm sweeping down the state may make things wet, especially on Sunday.
“They have perfect grass,” Cutrona said of the soccer complex at Mt. SAC. “Their field is top-notch. You won’t find a better one in the state.”
He’s not overly concerned about the potential for rain.
“It’s only a problem for you if it’s raining on your bench and not the other team’s,” he quipped.
The Mounties, though, will definitely have the home field advantage.
TC is 1-3-1 against Mt. SAC. That win came during the 2007 title run when the Cougars beat the Mounties on penalty kicks in the semi-finals. Mt. SAC was unbeaten at the time. The Cougars are the one with the perfect record this time – 17-0-5.