Both Taft College soccer teams will play for conference championships this week and, as a bonus, perhaps home field advantage in the playoffs.
The Cougar men (3-0-2 CVC, 10-5-2 overall) all but wrapped up the Central Valley Conference title in Fresno last Friday with a 2-0 win over their conference rival. All that stands between the Cougars and the crown is a Friday home date with last place College of the Sequoias (0-3-0).
They also can polish their playoff credentials today with a non-conference win at San Bernardino Valley College, ranked 13th in the state. TC is ranked 11th.
The women’s team, meanwhile, travels to Lemoore today to take on winless West Hills and then will host Fresno Friday in the regular season finale. That one will be for all the marbles. Both are 3-0-1 in the CVC.
Friday’s women’s game starts at 1 p.m. on the San Emidio Street field. The men take the field at 3 p.m.
Big win in Fresno
A pair of second half goals from freshman forward Rogelio Sustaita powered the Cougar men into first place.
“Both goals were beautiful,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona.
The first one came on an assist from freshman midfielder Ruben Alvarez.
“Ruben dribbled more than half the field all the way to the goal,” Cutrona said.
A defender stayed with Alvarez and managed to poke the ball away.
“Ruben stole it back and passed it to Rogelio, who hit a really nice shot into the back of the net.”
From that point the Cougars just had to defend, something Angelo Cutrona-coached teams do well.
“It was a total team effort. We used 16 or 17 players and everyone contributed. When we made a substitution the level did not drop. That’s very important, especially at this stage of the season.”
Cutrona said his team knows the importance of today’s non-leaguer at San Bernardino.
“I don’t think we can afford to take our foot off the gas,” he said. “The boys understand the value of power points.”
That’s how teams are ranked. A win on the road against a quality opponent like SBVC can push TC up a notch or two.
“We should finish in the top four or five (in northern California),” Cutrona said. “I think we even have a chance to move as high as No. 2 or No. 3.”
Page 2 of 2 - After getting off to a slow start this season, the Cougars have won six in a row.
The Cougar women had last week off to focus on this week’s conference finish.
They must take care of business today in Lemoore so they can be ready when Fresno comes to town Friday.
The Rams are ranked No. 1 in the state. The Cougars are 25th despite tying Fresno 1-1 when they played Oct. 29 in Fresno.
“We know we can compete with them,” said head coach Myisha Cutrona. “Our girls are really excited to be in this position. We hope we can get a big crowd out for that one. It’s a great opportunity for us.”