Men's soccer advances to 2nd round of NorCal Regionals

Men's soccer advances to 2nd round of NorCal Regionals

By Nick Giannandrea

COS ATHLETICS

Notch another first for the College of the Sequoias men's soccer team.

And prepare for another trip up north if you'd like to witness the most successful season in program history continue.

The 15th-seeded Giants upset No. 2 Foothill 1-0 on Nov. 20 in Los Altos Hills during the first round of the Northern California Regionals for the first postseason win in program history.

Sequoias, which qualified for its first postseason appearance by winning the Central Valley Conference title for the first time, advances to face No. 10 American River College at 2 p.m. Nov. 24 in Sacramento.

"Getting our first postseason win in program history is very special," Giants coach Renato Bustamante said. "We've been ambitious with our program goals since day one, and this type of victory puts us closer to where we want to be as a program."

It was the first loss of the season for the Owls (17-1-2), who entered ranked tied for first in the state with Hartnell by the California Community College Sports Information Association.

Sequoias (11-7-3) struck quickly as sophomore forward Regelio Bedolla-Ponce (Porterville High) scored off a collective play that Bustamante said the Giants have been trying to convert all season. Freshman midfielder Christian Trujillo (Golden West) and freshman defender Adrian Lopez (Mt. Whitney) provided the assists.

From there, Giants' defenders -- including Lopez, Brian Perez (Redwood), Jose Herrera (Tulare Union), Mathew Ramirez (Lemoore), Julian Estrada (Mt. Whitney), Carlos Lopez (El Diamante) and Isaiah Borjon (Mission Oak) helped keep Foothill off the board as goalkeeper Zachary Ramirez (Orange Cove) posted the shutout.

"We saw playing a very good and undefeated Foothill College team on the road as a beautiful opportunity to test ourselves against the best," Bustamante said. "And the victory reinforces our belief that we can compete toe-to-toe with any team."

Up next is American River (12-6-3), which upset No. 7 Feather River 2-1 on Nov. 22 during the first round of the NorCal Regionals.

Sequoias hasn't played the Beavers this season, but American River has faced three of the Giants' rivals from the Central Valley Conference, beating Clovis 2-1 on Sept. 28, tying Merced 1-1 on Nov. 19 and beating Fresno City 1-0 on Oct. 22.

"American River is a very strong team," Bustamante said. "They will present some problems, but we are ready to enjoy the moment and play like Giants."

Sequoias is unbeaten over its past 10 games (9-0-1) after starting the season 2-7-2, including 0-3-0 in CVC play.

If Sequoias beats American River, it would advance to the third round Nov. 27 against either No. 14 Cosumnes River or No. 6 Merced. The best remaining seed will host.

The winner of that game reaches the California Community College Athletic Association's Final Four championship tournament Dec. 3 and 5 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut.