Volleyball struggles on the road

Taft College’s fall sports season lifted off last week with mixed results.

Men’s soccer won twice while their women counterparts won and tied.

The volleyball team, meanwhile, had the misfortune of running into three of the very best teams in northern California and came away empty.

The women’s golf team – well – really isn’t a team because it has just two players and that’s not enough to qualify for team competition. But those two players – sophomore Kaleigh Irey (Frontier High, Bakersfield) and freshman Sierra Pilgrim (Taft High) – figure to make their marks.

Irey already has. In the season-opening Modesto Invitational last Tuesday she fired an 81 to win individual honors. Pilgrim struggled on the unfamiliar course and finished 30th with a 94.

Men’s Soccer

After losing last year’s state championship match to arch rival Fresno, coach Angelo Cutrona wanted to get out of the gate fast, and his team did just that by beating San Bernardino Valley 2-0 behind goals from freshman Luis Lopez (25th min.) and Alex Cabrera (35th). Hugo Magana and Johan Rodriguez got the assists.

They followed up with a 4-0 breeze over Allan Hancock College of Santa Maria, leading 3-0 at the break on goals by Lopez, Cabrera and Leopoldo Hernandez before Alan Perez capped off scoring with a goal in the 60th minute. Magana and Cabrera got assists. Two goals were unassisted, including an own goal by the Bulldogs.

Next: Tuesday versus College of the Desert at Taft High soccer complex at Tenth and San Emidio at 3 p.m. and Friday at Skyline College in San Bruno.

Women’s Soccer

The Cougars started fast in their season-opening 3-3 standoff with Santa Rosa but faded, especially in the second half, to a one-woman Cub rally. Taft got goals from Zulma Flores (32nd min.), Brook Hamar (39th) and Maria Jimenez (75th). Vicky Bojorquez, Bri-Leigh Snow and Hillary Barragan got the assists.

A three-goal lead with 10 minutes to go looked solid, but that’s when SRJC’s Eden Booker took matters into her own hands. The 5-foot-1 sophomore midfielder/forward scored goals in the 80th, 85th and 88th minutes – two of them unassisted. TC’s defense did manage to hold her scoreless in the final two minutes.

TC bounced back from that stunner with a 5-2 home win over Allan Hancock on Friday.

Candelaria Flores got the only goal of the first half off an assist from Kaitlin Dansie before the teams combined for six second-half goals. Dominique Olivares, Martha Gonzalez, Vanessa Aguero and Carla Rodriguez drove home goals for the Cougars, who were never threatened. Dansie, Diana DeLeon, Jimenez and Flores got assists.

Next: at Desert Tuesday; at Hartnell Friday; at Cabrillo Saturday.