M. Soccer: Win over Norco concludes non-conference schedule

Kevin Diaz heads home the eventual game-winning goal against Norco College
Kevin Diaz heads home the eventual game-winning goal against Norco College

In their final non-conference game on Tuesday, the Cerritos College men's soccer team posted a 3-1 win over visiting Norco College. The Falcons (9-0-1), unbeaten in their last 34 games (31-0-3) will open South Coast Conference play next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. when they host Compton College. The team has also gone 48-1-10 since 2017.

The Falcons played without two of their starters on defense due to injuries, as they were missing sophomores Eugene Martinez (Delille Academy, Belize) and David Lermas (Paramount HS/Compton College). Freshman Bryan Perez (Simon Rodia HS), who is second on the team in assists, also missed the game due to a disciplinary decision.

After a scoreless first half, Cerritos took a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute when freshman Armando Ibarra, Jr. (Downey HS) scored on a one-time on a pass from freshman Martin Velasquez (Paramount HS). The Falcons were pressuring the Mustangs (4-5-0) defense and finally broke through with the first goal of the game. Less than 10 minutes later, it was a 2-0 game, as sophomore Kevin Diaz (Connections Academy HS) headed home a beautiful crossing pass from Ibarra on a transitional play.

Norco was able to get on the board in the 64th minute to cut the Falcons lead in half, but that didn't affect the #4-ranked team in the country by United Soccer Coaches. Diaz fired off a shot from in front of the goal that deflected off Norco goalkeeper Jose Espino. The ball ricocheted off the keeper to freshman Nicholas Correa (Downey HS), who was in position to score the team's third goal. Diaz had a chance to add another goal to the tally, but his penalty kick was turned away by a diving Espino.

Also missing out on great scoring chances was sophomore Dominic Valdivia (Loyola HS/Creighton University), who just missed on a header in the 38th minute and was turned away two minutes later. Sophomore Bryan Ortega (Paramount HS) also saw his shot in the 68th minute careen off the crossbar.

Photos by Daryl Peterson