MEN’S SOCCER: Aztecs ride eight-game unbeaten streak


 The Pima Community College men’s soccer team is on an eight-game unbeaten streak, with a record of 10-1-1.

Sophomore Hector Banegas leads the team in scoring, while freshmen Julian Gaona and Chris Cooper have provided strong and evolving play that continues to elevate the Aztecs.

Sept. 20: PCC 2, Mesa CC 1

The sixth-ranked Aztecs grabbed their eighth win of the season from Mesa Community College, scraping out a 2-1 road victory.

The Thunderbirds scored first in the 28th minute and Pima went into halftime trailing the hosts 1-0.

Freshman forward Julian Gaona evened the score at 1-1 for Pima in the 60th minute, assisted by freshman midfielder Chris Cooper.

Sophomore forward Hector Banegas continued his scoring ways in the 88th minute, converting a penalty kick that provided Pima with the game-winning goal.

The kick lifted Banegas to a team-high 10 goals in nine games after coming off of a broken ankle injury suffered in 2015.

Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Anderson posted a season-high six saves.

 Sept. 22: PCC 0, Arizona Western College 0

Neither team was able to score when Pima traveled to No. 12 Arizona Western in Yuma. Goalkeeper Anderson finished the night with four saves for PCC.

The game was the first of the season in which the Aztecs were held scoreless.

Sept. 24: PCC 7, Paradise Valley CC 1

Pima grabbed its ninth win of the season in a 7-1 victory over the Paradise Valley Community College Pumas at Kino North Stadium. Sophomore Carlo Valadez-Paz sparked the Aztecs with three second-half goals.

After a slow Pima start, Gaona scored in the 38th minute off a rebound. Cooper scored in the 41st minute off an assist by Gaona, giving the Aztecs a 2-0 lead at the break.

A minute into the second half, Valadez-Paz found the back of the net after receiving an assist from Cooper.

The Pumas scored in the 53rd minute, cutting Pima’s lead to 3-1.

Valadez-Paz converted from the penalty spot two minutes later, giving him his second goal and Pima’s fourth of the game.

Sophomore midfielder Lorenzo Rodriguez scored in the 58th minute, with Valadez-Paz providing the assist.

Valadez-Paz scored his third goal in the 67th minute, giving him a hat trick. Banegas earned an assist.

Freshman defender Andrew Bianchi completed Pima’s 7-1 victory with a goal in the 70th minute.

Sophomore goalkeeper James McWilliams finished the game with two saves.

Pima swept the regular season home and away series against the Pumas, outscoring Paradise Valley by a 16-1 margin.

Sep 28: PCC 7, South Mountain CC 1

The Aztecs won their 10th game of the season on the road against South Mountain Community College. For the second consecutive game, the Aztecs scored seven goals while conceding one.

Valadez-Paz scored in the first minute of the game, assisted by Rodriguez.

Cooper scored in the 20th and 27th minutes, and Rodriguez rounded out the first-half scoring in the 37th minute off an assist from freshman Tatsuma Yuki.

Banegas struck with goals in the 46th and 56th minute, giving him 12 goals for the year.

Freshman Luis Arias contributed a goal in the 53rd minute.

Sophomore goalkeeper James McWilliams finished with three saves.

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