Brian Lewis has the highlights from the first round of the State Championships between COC and Fresno City College. Filmed and edited by Brian Lewis.
VALENCIA – The College of the Canyons Men’s Soccer team is now one win away from a state championship after defeating Fresno City College 3-0 at Cougar Stadium on Friday.
“Wow,” is all head coach Phil Marcellin had to say to sum this one up. “Such an unbelievable opportunity. We’ve made a run and now we’re going to have a chance to play for the state championship.”
After the score remained scoreless heading into the half, COC sophomore Andres Bueno drilled one into the back lower left corner of the goal just three minutes into the second half. That would be the only goal the Cougars would need to take care of the Rams.
“I’m very excited for the team,” said Bueno. “For me it’s just a goal, I’m very excited for the team and what we’ve been able to do.”
Right after the score, Fresno came right back with two good scoring chances but freshman goalie Alex Burkevics came up big for COC as he has the entire playoffs. Burkevics made five saves on his way to his second shutout in the playoffs.
“I have the team to thank for all the shutouts,” said the freshman keeper. “The mid field did a phenomenal job, they controlled the game they took care of Fresno. I think our defense is one of the best in the entire state.”
During the Cougars 11 game win streak, the freshman goal keeper has only allowed 4 goals, two of which came off penalty kicks including last weeks only goal allowed at Santa Ana.
“That’s (on Alex Burkevics) one of the best stories of this season,” said Marcellin. “He’s clutched up and grown with confidence, he’s a completely different player today then he was at the beginning of the season.”
The Cougars would add another goal ten minutes later, as Bueno sent a pass in that went off the foot of Rafael Fuentes who went into a slide to put it in the net. Fuentes goal would add insurance for the Cougars and put them up 2-0 with 33 minutes left in the game.
That goal seemed to weaken the Rams as they weren’t able to put anything together in the second half, being out shot 9-4 and 13-11 in the game by COC.
The Cougars weren’t done scoring in the 73rd minute as Sebastian Toro fired one in off of a pass from Jorge Serrano. That goal gave the Cougars a comfortable lead at 3-0.
Mount San Antonio College defeated West Valley college in the first game Friday morning at Cougar Stadium 2-1 on a penalty kick with just two minutes left in the game.
The Cougars will face Mt. Sac for the State Championship on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at Cougar Stadium on the campus of College of the Canyons.
“We have a healthy respect for them,” said Marcellin. “We have to play our game and hope it stands up to the test.”