Brian Lewis has the highlights from COC’s thrilling upset win at Santa Ana. Shot and edited by Brian Lewis. Photographs by Cory Rubin.
SANTA ANA – Revenge never felt so good.
With ten minutes remaining in the game it appeared as if the No. 6 College of the Canyons men’s soocer team would be knocked out of the Southern California Playoffs for the second straight year by No. 2 Santa Ana.
Until the 87th minute, with the game tied at 1, Emmanuel Padron knocked one in off a corner kick from Jorge Serrano to give the Cougars the go ahead goal at 2-1, which they would later go on to beat Santa Ana 3-1.
“We were pushing up as a team trying to get the second goal,” said Padron. “I knew off the free kick that it was going to go back post, I just took a shot at the back post and it went in.”
Santa Ana would strike first however as in the 35th minute when COC’s goalie Alex Burkevics committed a penalty while going after the loose ball in the box. Orlando Alcaraz scored on the penalty kick to give Santa Ana the early 1-0 lead which they held onto until the 84th minute.
“The cleared it the side and I thought I had a chance to get it, I dove for it but the guy jumped in front of me and I ran my shoulder into his back and he fell,” said Burkevics. “I wouldn’t agree with it but that’s the game.”
COC got on the board when Padron crossed one to freshman defense man Jose Reyes who headed in past the goalie to tie the game at 1.
“I was going to go back because the ball got cleared but I decided I was going to stay in,” said Reyes. “He crossed it in to me and luckily I was there to put it in.”
After taking the 2-1 lead, the Cougars roared down the field again to add another goal by sophomore mid fielder Andres Bueno who out ran the Santa Ana goalie to punch it in the back of the net to add the icing to the cake.
The Cougars scored all three of their goals within 7 minutes after not having to many scoring opportunities before the final minutes.
“The team’s attitude it to not give up and it showed that we didn’t,” said Padron. “We just kept pushing forward and we came out positive at the end.”
Like Tuesday’s game at Cerritos, COC received a huge boost from their freshman goalie Alex Burkevics who made save after save and kept the Cougars in the game. Burkevics made five saves while only allowing one goal on the penalty kick.
“I wasn’t even thinking,” said Burkevics. “I was working off instincts, I knew that I had to keep the ball out of the net and that was all that I needed to worry about.”
The Cougars out shot Santa Ana 4-3 in the first half and 14-10 in the game.
The Cougars were knocked out of the playoffs last year by Santa Ana losing 4-0 in the third round. The Cougars also lost at home to Santa Ana this season 4-1. This is the first victory for Phil Marcellin and the Cougars against Santa Ana.
“It’s unbelievable, I can’t even tell you how excited I am,” said head coach Phil Marcellin. “This has answered a lot of prayers and a lot of hard work. This was a great effort by these guys. It’s going to take a while to set in.”
The Cougars will now advance to the state championship tournament at Cougar Stadium on the campus of College of the Canyons on Friday Dec. 3.