City College men’s soccer team came into this year’s game with Santa Rosa Junior College riding a four-year winning streak and on Sept. 14 that didn’t change.
The Rams shut out the Bear Cubs 2-0.
Currently No. 1 in the state, the Rams remain undefeated (5-0-0) as they prepare for their first conference game against Evergreen College at home Sept. 21.
Despite the wins, they don’t take anything for granted.
“Every win is important. It’s hard to come to Santa Rosa and get a win,” head coach Adam Lucarelli said. Coach Lucarelli explained that the Bear Cubs are “a tough team, they’re physical. I think they outplayed us a little bit in the first 30 minutes of the game, they were more physical than us, then we started dictating the tempo and that’s what changed when we started playing our game, I think it went better for us.”
As the home team, the Bear Cubs started the game playing offense, but they were unable to find the right spots to penetrate the Rams’ defense and score.
For the Rams, it took 35 minutes to wake up and find the net.
After a quick transition, the Rams pulled a counter-attack when sophomore midfielder Alfredo Castaneda sent an accurate pass to sophomore Juan Palacio. Palacio kicked the ball towards the Bear Cubs goalkeeper’s far post, giving him no chance to block and putting the Rams ahead 1-0 before halftime.
Happy that he was able to help the Rams score their first goal of the match, Palacio said it’s important to keep the momentum rolling.
“Right now we’re doing good, where the main thing is that we gotta keep it up with the defensive and the attacking going,” Palacio said. “We gotta give our all every single game, play like we never played before.”
When the referee whistled the start of the second half, the Bear Cubs came back to the game with the same attitude, pressuring the Rams but still not having solid opportunities.
Their best one happened in the 52nd minute after a corner kick.
Santa Rosa sophomore midfielder Octavio Estupian had a chance to tie the game but he headed the ball to the side of the Rams’ goalie near the right post.
The Rams’ response was quick. One minute later, sophomore defender Chris Franco showed great game vision by sending a clinic pass to sophomore forward Arnulfo Garcia. Garcia was fast enough to outrun the defenders, chipping the ball just over the Bear Cubs’ goalie to put the Rams up 2-0.
“I just saw him (Garcia) making the run. I saw the place right behind him and I just sent it,” Franco said.
Garcia’s second goal of the game, and his third of the season, was all the Rams needed. The Rams slowed down the game’s pace and were able to pass the ball around to run the clock until the final whistle.
Although the Bear Cubs didn’t give up, Rams backline defenders Andre Alverez, Lucas Machado, Edwin Garcia and Chris Franco were solid.
Proving their skills, the Rams defense has only allowed one goal this season.
“Our backline all year has been really really good, probably one of the best backlines in Northern California,” Lucarelli said. “But I think collectively, in the second half, all of our players defended well, even midfielders, and that’s something we’ve been really proud of ourselves on, that’s why we’ve only given up one goal in five games.”
The Rams face Evergreen Valley College in their first conference game of the season on Sept. 21. Kickoff starts at 3pm.