The hottest team not ranked in the state happens to be the Pasadena City College men's soccer team. That should change in next week's poll. The Lancers reached a season-best third victory in a row Friday, downing El Camino-Compton Center, 3-1. In winning the South Coast Conference crossover game, PCC remained a perfect 4-0 on its Robinson Stadium home field and is on a 5-1-1 streak since September 30.
The Lancers (8-3-3 overall) defeated an unranked Compton team that was fresh off an upset 1-0 win over state No. 1-ranked Mt. San Antonio on Tuesday. PCC also came off an upset triumph on Tuesday when it surprised No. 15 Cerritos, 2-0.
On the all-important power points ratings by the CCCAA, the Lancers are No. 9 in the state and now No. 3 in the SoCal region behind only No. 2 Golden West and No. 4 Oxnard, the defending state champions.
Against Compton, PCC got on the board just 85 seconds into the game when Manuel Chavez took a lead pass from Oscar Vanegas and rifled a shot past Tartars' goalie Ignacio Corona. Compton (7-6-3) tied it right away at 3:02 with a goal by Angel Gomez.
The teams stayed tight on defense for most of the game until the 73rd minute when Chavez took a free kick from the side of the 10-yard line and Jesus Garcia headed in what proved to be the game-winning goal. Chavez then added insurance with a penalty kick goal in the 81st minute. The sophomore forward finished with two goals and an assist and he leads PCC in points with 13 (five goals and three assists).
Garcia continues to impress on defense. In the 63rd minute, Compton got a free kick opportunity at the center of the 13-yard line and Garcia blocked a hard drive by Gustavo Ruiz. On offense, the freshman Garcia has become a weapon with goals in four of the last five games, mostly on headers.
Quietly, the team has received stalwart play in the midfield and defense from such players as Lucas Rodriguez, Joshua Moran, and Joshua Arevalo. Offensively, Chavez is becoming one of the most explosive players in the conference along with another talented forward Diego Rodriguez. In the Compton win, Guillermo Zetina often was creating plays as he and Chavez pressured a strong Tartars' defense.
"We were concerned about Compton, especially after it had used a complete shutdown strategy to beat Mt. SAC," said PCC head coach Henry Cabral. "We wanted to pressure them and I thought we did that a lot. We controlled the flow of the game. We stayed poised when it was tied for a long period and just plugged away. The players are really focused, and now we have to carry this into the second round of conference play."
PCC next plays another crossover with the SCC South Division when it travels to El Camino College (Torrance) for a 4 p.m. kickoff.
[Photo--Lancer Manuel Chavez was in all three of PCC goals Friday v. Compton, including this PK score in the second half, image by Richard Quinton.]