Courtesy of John Van Gaston - CCCSIA
VENTURA - After reaching the CCCAA State Semifinals for the last three seasons and coming up short, the Mt. San Antonio College men's soccer team pulled out a win in penalty kicks over Fresno City College at the Ventura Sports Complex on Sunday. The Mounties (18-2-4), winners of four straight state championships (2009-12), have reached the state tournament every year since 2006 and this was their eighth appearance in a championship game. It was the second state championship game for the Rams, who lost in the 2002 state championship game.
After the game finished scoreless after 120 minutes, the two teams went to penalty kicks to decide a winner. It marked the first since since the 2003 season where a game was decided on penalties, as Irvine Valley defeated Cosumnes River that year.
Both teams were successful on their first four attempts. In the fifth round, Mt. SAC's Michael Flores gave his team a 5-4 lead, with Fresno City (19-1-5) lining up for their fifth attempt. But Mounties goalie Edwyn Gutierrez dove to his lower right side to stop the attempt by the Rams Jorge Garcia to clinch the win. For his efforts over the weekend, Gutierrez was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Gutierrez came up with the game-winning stop in penalty kicks to defeat Taft College.
"Our team was resilient all weekend," said Mounties head coach Juan Sanchez. "I've always told our team that if you don't give up goals, you can't lose. Edwyn did real well in PK's during practice, so he came into this weekend feeling very confident.
In a very physical game, both teams had their scoring chances, with the Mounties getting turned away several times in the second half by Rams goalkeeper Andres Castrejon, who made nine saves on the day. In all, 11 cards were issued and 48 fouls were called.