By BRIANNA HERNANDEZ
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team lost its final regular season match, but still managed to make history with the program’s first-ever ACCAC conference championship.
“The credit goes to the players and the coaching staff,” coach Dave Cosgrove said. “Every day everyone showed up and kept working – no matter if the results were good or bad. Regardless of injuries and adversity, all the players and assistant coaches just kept working.”
Oct. 28: PCC 1, Yavapai College 2
The Aztecs (16-3-3) looking to claim its fourth straight region title, were met with disappointment with a loss at the hands of Yavapai College (19-2-3).
Only 20 minutes into the match, the Aztecs were left trailing behind the Roughriders.
The lead would only last a total of 20 minutes until the Aztecs would find the net.
A trio of freshmens are to thank for the goal. Ricky Flores was able to drive the ball across the field untouched to find Daisuke Takanaka. Hugo Kametani was then able to fire the ball into the back of the net.
Unbeknownst to the Aztecs, the battle for the NJCAA Region I, Division 1 finals would come to a close one minute later when the Roughriders scored its game-winning goal.
This loss marked the Aztecs first loss at home territory this season.
Oct. 25: PCC 1, Arizona Western College 0
The Aztecs waited 61 minutes to claim its game-winning goal, when sophomore Tatsuma Yuki set up fellow sophomore Julian Goana inside the box.
Without a comfortable lead, the Aztecs fought to maintain the advantage. This effort was challenged when Silva was tested in the last four minutes of the match with a shot from 20 feet out.
Oct. 19: PCC 0, Arizona Western College 2
The Aztecs 16-game winning streak came to a close with a defeat from the No. 14 Arizona Western Matadors.
The Matadors’ lead came early in the sixth minute.
Five minutes into the second half, the Matadors expanded their lead.
The Aztecs were unable to capitalize on six corner kick opportunities.
Despite the loss, the Aztecs claimed the conference championship, a feat that had never been done in the program’s 29 years.
“I have coached a long time, but I did not see Pima’s first conference title happening this year,” Cosgrove said. “We had two starting defenders out this season after the third game due to knee injuries. I knew we would have an uphill battle.”
Oct. 17: PCC 6, Mesa CC 0
After a hat trick from Takanaka, the Thunderbirds faced a huge goal deficit for the remainder of the game.
Takanaka’s goals came in the 23rd, 35th and 40th minute of the game. Only one of the goals was unassisted, the other two were set up by Gaona and Yuki.
Gaona was quick to score, putting in a goal two minutes after halftime with an assist by freshman Jose Romero.
Flores sought out a more aggressive role in the game.
“I tried to include myself in the attacking,” Flores said. “To try to help our midfielders and forwards score and secure the game.”
Within the next 20 minutes, Pima would add goals from Flores and freshman Alan Gomez to the scoreboard.
“We defended really well to prevent any shots or dangerous plays near our goal,” Flores said.
Despite the loss, the Aztecs will continue to the NJCAA District I Tournament at noon on Nov. 3 in Prescott.