Mounties 2 Rams 0
Players put their heart and soul into each season, never wanting it to end, but for the 2011 men’s soccer team, their season ended abruptly, just one game away from playing in the state championship.
In a statewide Final Four match against Mt. San Antonio on Dec. 2, City College was shut out, 2-0, for only the second time all season.
“Sometimes it’s hard to admit but I think (Mt. San Antonio) is just better than us,” said Rams head coach Adam Lucarelli. “They are the No. 1 team in the state, No. 1 team in the nation. They won back-to-back two years and it shows. Our guys fought hard, gained a lot of experience, but I think at the end of the day we just came up short, playing against a team a little better than us.”
City College was just about even with Mt. San Antonio for most of the first half, having two shots on goal to the Mounties’ three until the 34th minute, when the Rams’ leading goal scorer Jamie Barragan was carried off the field. He was diagnosed with a concussion after taking a hit to his temple.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t go back in,” Barragan said. “I tried my best, the trainer evaluated me, wouldn’t let me go back in. I respected his decision.”
Barragan was tied on the team with six goals this season.
“I think that in itself took a lot of wind out of our sails,” Lucarelli said. “That kind of hurt a lot.”
Just four minutes after Barragan left the game, the Mounties took advantage, scoring on a lead pass given to sophomore Luis Fuentes, who lobed it into the net over Rams goalkeeper Jaime Zalazar. The Mounties led 1-0 going into halftime.
With the momentum against them and their leading goal scorer out for the game, the Rams were unable to recover.
Mt. San Antonio added another goal in the 79th minute and dominated ball possession through the second half up until the final whistle.
“We were a great team, we gave it our all. Unfortunately we didn’t come up with the win, but there’s a good team next year that will be back here,” Barragan said, who had watched from the sidelines as his team was eliminated.
Barragan hopes to play for Notre Dame next season, but for him and other sophomores Friday would be their final game in a City College uniform.
After the game, Lucarelli planned to address his team.
“I’m going to tell them: don’t forget what we did, this was the first time City College has come to the Final Four and for the sophomores, this is just one little stop in a lifetime of memories,” he said. “After all, this a soccer game, and there are bigger things that they are going to achieve. For the freshman they can learn from this, know what it takes, and know what they need to do for a state championship.”
City College finished the season with a 19-5-1 record and the Coast Conference North Division championship.
The Rams will lose eight players on their 35-man team roster, but another eight of the team’s top ten goal scorers are returning.
Key players coming back include starting goalkeeper Kevin Gonzalez, who finished third in the state in goals allowing just four all season, freshman Garcia Arnulfo, who was tied for team lead in goals scored on the season, and Juan Miguel Perez who finished the season with five goals and three assists.