Taft College loses by two goals

The Taft College men’s soccer team is in an uncharacteristic – and uncomfortable – position.

For the first time in several seasons, the Cougars find themselves playing below .500 following Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to defending state champion and undefeated Mt. San Antonio College.

“We haven’t been in a situation like this,” said head coach Angelo Cutrona, who has taken his team to the state final four in three of the last four seasons.  “But we know we can bounce back.  We did it in 2007 when we has some problems early and then won 14 in a row.”

The Cougars enter today’s 3 o’clock home match with Moorpark (0-2-0) with a 2-3-2 record, No. 9 northern California and No. 20 state ranking.

Cutrona said his young team is still making critical mistakes that, at this level, can cost you dearly.

“We have 19 freshmen,” he said.  “We are making mistakes that in high school you can recover from, but at the college level you can’t.”

Mt. SAC jumped out to a quick lead, scoring in the fourth minute when poor communication cost them a goal.

“We gave up a sloppy goal because we didn’t have good leadership,” Cutrona said.  “We had two guys backing off the ball at a critical point.  There was some hesitation and it cost us.”

The Cougars managed to hold off the Mounties the rest of the first half and took control in the second half.

“We made things a little more interesting,” Cutrona said.  “I thought we dominated early in the second half.”

The Mounties scored 25 minutes into the half to make it 2-0 and take the air out of the Cougar attack.

“Our fullback, who is supposed to clear the ball, got his foot caught in the grass when he tried to make a move and their guy was able to get the ball by him.”

The Cougars will have a week to get ready for their Central Valley Conference opener next Friday at West Hills-Lemoore.

“Hopefully, that will give us enough time to work on eliminating the small mistakes that have been hurting us,” Cutrona said.  “That’s something we really need to fix now.”

West Hills-Lemoore is 5-2-0, ranked eighth in NorCal and 18th in the state.