By CALEB FOSTER
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team is on a roll, entering the second half of the season with a four-game win streak.
The Aztecs (9-2-1) defeated South Mountain Community College 4-1 in Phoenix on Sept. 27. The victory marked head coach David Cosgrove’s 250th win for Pima.
The Aztecs took a 3-0 lead at the half before tacking on one more in the second period.
Freshman Alex Rojo scored twice, and fellow freshmen Hector Banegas and Alejandro Gonzalez each had a goal. Freshman Sam Kavathas had three saves in the victory.
“It was a difficult game but a very mature and consistent performance from the team,” Cosgrove said.
Cosgrove said he was not aware that his 250th win was approaching until others began a countdown.
“I’ve gotten some unique calls and texts from coaches and alumni,” he said. “The kids congratulated me and that’s the best part. This is a great group to hit a milestone like that with.”
On Sept. 25, the Aztecs earned their sixth shutout of the season and third shutout in a row with a 3-0 victory against Arizona Western College. The Aztecs are undefeated at home.
Rojo scored first in the 18th minute off an assist from sophomore Christian Garcia-Cabello.
The Aztecs struggled with accuracy throughout the game but found their rhythm in the second half. Sophomore Arturo Vega stepped up and found the net in the 75th minute, and Rojo scored a second goal in the 84th minute.
“I thought we played well,” Cosgrove said. “We were solid defensively, we were good going forward. We just still have a real problem scoring goals when we play well.”
The Aztecs finished the first half of their season with a 3-0 win against GateWay Community College on Sept. 23.
Rojo, Banegas and freshman Osvaldo Varela all scored for the Aztecs. Pima outshot GateWay 14-2 and Kavathas ended the game with two saves.
Pima came ready to play against Mesa Community College on Sept. 20, and won 3-0.
Players had some trouble passing the ball to begin the game but soon got the offense to click. Freshman Santiago Carrillo scored first for the Aztecs off a penalty kick in the 24th minute.
Freshman Ryan Bristow and Rojo both scored in the second half to extend the Aztecs’ lead.
“I thought we could have been smarter in situations but we played hard and we played well,” Cosgrove said.
The Aztecs suffered a 2-1 loss Sept. 18 against No. 2-ranked Yavapai College in Prescott.
The Aztecs gave up a goal in the 10th minute. They were unable to find the net during the first half, despite controlling the ball and outshooting Yavapai 12-4.
Banegas scored off an assist from fellow freshman Sergio Anaya in the 62nd minute to tie the game at 1-1 but Yavapai answered within a minute to retake the lead.
Pima had an opportunity to tie the game in the 83rd minute on a shot that bounced off the top goal post, but it was saved by the goalkeeper.
The Aztecs were handed their second loss of the season despite outshooting Yavapai 23-11. Kavathas had two saves.
“This was our best game of the year but we need to reward ourselves when we play well,” Cosgrove said.
“I’m happy with the better quality of play and if we continue with that long term, good things will happen. In the short term, it’s a loss tonight.”
Cosgrove said the upcoming stretch of games would be brutal.
“We’ll find how deep we are,” he said. “It’s a good test for us.”