By STEVE CHOICE
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team saw its season end on Oct. 24, losing 4-2 to Scottsdale Community College in the NJCAA Region 1 semifinals.
Despite the loss, head coach Kendra Veliz was pleased with her squad, which finished at 12-7-1 on the year.
“I’m proud of what this team accomplished this year,” Veliz said. “We were a young team, but we responded well to the challenges that were put before us. We definitely feel like we met our expectations.”
It was almost a tale of three seasons for the Aztecs, who reeled off five straight victories to start the year before dropping four of their next five.
“We had a stretch in the middle of the year there where we struggled,” Veliz said. “We had a lot of games scheduled in a little amount of time, which didn’t help.
“But the squad really responded well after that down period, and came together late in the year with some great play.”
PCC went 6-2-1 down the homestretch, including a home playoff victory against Chandler-Gilbert Community College on Oct. 22.
“We’re all competitive, and they learned a lot this year,” Veliz said of her squad. “There’s a lot more to learn, but I really liked how we jelled as a unit.
“There was a lot of camaraderie, which is a big part of being successful as a team.”
Though Pima only loses three sophomores off this year’s freshman-laden squad, they were all key contributors. Moving on will be goalkeeper Erika Heredia, forward Ivonne Herrera and midfielder Robyn Tolin.
Veliz is optimistic about next year’s team.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “We have so many returning players who played a major role in what we accomplished this year.
“I’m really happy with this year, and I’m looking forward to next year, too.”
By STEVE CHOICE
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team lost 4-2 against Scottsdale Community College on Oct. 24 in the NJCAA Region 1 semifinals, ending the Aztecs’ season. The road defeat put Pima’s final record at 12-7-1.
“I’m proud of what this team accomplished this year,” head coach Kendra Veliz said. “We have a quality group to build on for next season.”
PCC won its first playoff game, defeating Chandler-Gilbert Community College 4-1 in a home quarterfinals match on Oct. 22.
Against Chandler-Gilbert, freshman Kathy Fisher broke open a tight affair in the 33rd minute with an unassisted corner-kick goal.
“We have great finishers on the team, so I was just trying to get it to the far post,” Fisher said. “I bent it enough to where – I don’t know if the wind caught it or what – but I just got a nice bend on it, and it went in the back post.”
Freshman Camie Barbera tallied two goals for Pima, and fellow freshman Ashley Cardenas also scored. Sophomore goalkeeper Erika Heredia made seven stops in net.
On Oct. 20, the Aztecs finished their regular season against Scottsdale, fighting to a 1-1 draw at home.
PCC downed Mesa Community College 4-1 at home on Oct. 18. Barbera scored twice for Pima, while Fisher had a goal and an assist.
The Aztecs outshot Mesa 18-7 in the match, with Heredia making five stops. Freshman Rebecca Lamanda subbed in for Heredia late in the second half, finishing with a save.
On Oct. 11, PCC blanked Phoenix College 3-0 on the road.
Sophomore midfielder Robyn Tolin had a goal for Pima, as did Cardenas and Barbera.
Four Aztecs were named all-ACCAC performers on Oct. 22. Fisher and Heredia made the first team, while Barbera received second-team accolades.
Tolin garnered honorable mention recognition.
Press releases were used to contribute to this article.
By STEVE CHOICE
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team had its three-game winning streak snapped at home against Paradise Valley Community College on Oct. 9, falling 8-1.
Despite the resounding defeat, the Aztecs (9-6) are sitting in good position to qualify for the postseason, according to sophomore goalkeeper Erika Heredia.
“I think we’re definitely set now to be in the playoffs,” said Heredia following a 2-0 home victory over GateWay Community College on Oct. 6. “Winning this today will definitely help us get there.”
Sophomore forward Ivonne Herrera put back a rebound off the Gecko goalie to get Pima’s first score on the day. Sophomore Robyn Tolin also netted a goal, with an assist by freshman Gisel Duarte.
The Aztecs outshot GateWay 21-5 in the match.
PCC chopped South Mountain Community College down to size on Oct. 2, winning 5-0 in Phoenix.
Freshmen Ashley Estrada, Kamree Cady and Ashley Cardenas all scored, along with Herrera and Tolin. Cardenas and Herrera also had two assists each.
Heredia and freshman Salina Joos combined for the shutout in net.
On Sept. 29, the Aztecs held off Cochise College for a 4-3 triumph at West Campus.
Freshman Kathy Fisher had a goal for Pima, along with Herrera, Cardenas and Tolin.
Freshman netminder Rebecca Lamanda finished with four saves, as the visitors from Douglas outshot PCC 10-8.
The Aztecs fell 2-1 at home to Chandler-Gilbert Community College on Sept. 27.
Freshman defenseman Miranda Smith put in a penalty kick in the 60th minute to stake PCC to a 1-0 advantage, but Chandler-Gilbert scored two late goals for the win.
Pima had its chances, outshooting the Coyotes 15-8. Heredia had five saves on the day.
Heredia was named ACCAC Goalkeeper of the Week for the week ending Sept. 30.
“It feels great,” the education major said of the award. “We’ve definitely improved a lot more on defense from the beginning of the season.”
As a vocal leader on the field, Heredia has exhorted her teammates to trust in their abilities and pack it in close to goal.
“Usually the defense is a little hesitant to play back, but I try to encourage them beforehand, like, ‘I’m ready. Play back whenever.’
“They started doing it today, which is cool. And it worked.”
Cady also praised the Aztecs’ defensive stinginess against GateWay.
“Being up 2-0, like we were today, is kind of the worst lead you can have,” she said, “because they can get a goal just as quick as we can. It’s just that our defense has been really strong.
“We’re supporting each other really well and working together. Hopefully we’ll grow more like that for the rest of the season.”
Oct. 11: @ Phoenix College, Phoenix, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18: Mesa CC, West Campus, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: Scottsdale CC, West Campus, 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 23: NJCAA Region 1 quarterfinals, TBA
By STEVE CHOICE
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team is playing its best when it matters most – late in games and late in the season.
The Aztecs beat Paradise Valley Community College 4-2 at home on Oct. 9 to claim their fifth-straight victory. PCC now stands at 10-4-2 on the year, with only four regular-season games left on the schedule.
Freshman forward Tyler Terrell’s goal broke open a 1-1 game in the 48th minute against Paradise Valley, and Pima never looked back. Freshmen Alexis Medina and Morgan Quintana also scored for PCC, along with sophomore J.C. Henson.
The Aztecs also used second-half heroics to defeat GateWay Community College 2-0 at home on Oct. 6. Sophomore defenseman Kyle Cornell put in a header in the 64th minute for the game’s first score.
Sophomore Declan Fulton assisted with a corner kick on the play, and also added a penalty kick goal in the 71st minute.
Fulton is the designated penalty-kick taker for Pima, which is a role he relishes.
“I always like taking those, yeah,” said the transplant from England. “It takes steady nerves and the ability to maintain your composure.
“I don’t give eye contact to the keeper. You’ll second-guess yourself if you’re on the spot and you look at him. It helped that we were up one-nil there, because it took a bit of pressure off.”
On Oct. 2, Pima used four second-half goals to bury South Mountain Community College 6-2.
Henson tallied two goals for PCC, and fellow sophomore Yahya Kane continued his comeback story with another. Freshmen Gabe Gauna and Terrell also had scores, while freshman forward Tico Lanz contributed three assists.
The Aztecs roared back in the second half for a 4-3 home victory on Sept. 29 against then-No. 11 Arizona Western College.
Trailing 3-1 at the break, Pima rode two late goals by freshman Roberto Zatarain and one by Kane to the comeback win.
The Aztecs again turned a halftime deficit around in a Sept. 27 home victory against Chandler-Gilbert Community College, winning 4-2.
Medina had two second-half goals for Pima, while Kane and sophomore Enrique Alvarez each had one. Freshman goalkeeper Tyler Wilson stopped six shots.
Pima is 5-1 in games played after the midway point of its regular season.
“Today’s game started out kind of slow,” said Lanz after the GateWay contest. “We played well as a team in the first half, but we couldn’t finish our chances.
“The second half was a lot better, and we got our goals. Our chemistry and flow were there way more in the second half.”
Oct. 11: @ Phoenix College, Phoenix, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 13: @ Yavapai College, Prescott Valley, 6 p.m.
Oct. 18: Mesa CC, West Campus, 1 p.m.
Oct. 20: Scottsdale CC, West Campus, noon.
Oct. 23: NJCAA Region 1 quarterfinals, TBA, 2 p.m.
By STEVE CHOICE
Though the Pima Community College men’s soccer team hasn’t put together long winning streaks this season, its defense has consistently shut down opposing teams.
The Aztecs sit at 5-4-2 on the year after a 2-1 overtime loss to Glendale Community College on Sept. 25. In those 11 matches, PCC has surrendered a scant 13 goals.
“I think our defense is the backbone of our team,” said sophomore goalkeeper Ben Eyde. “They pretty much hold the line for us.”
As tough as the Aztec defenders have been, it was the offense that had a little fun during a 7-1 drubbing of Scottsdale Community College on Sept. 22.
Sophomore J.C. Henson scored twice on the day, while fellow sophomores Kyle Cornell and Declan Fulton each had a goal of their own, along with freshmen Fabian Romero and Tyler Terrell.
Sophomore Yahya Kane saw his first action of the year for Pima, also putting one in net. The Mauritania native is recovering from knee surgery.
PCC’s offense was also on display against Mesa Community College on Sept. 20, as the Aztecs exploded for a 5-1 road win.
Terrell scored a pair for Pima, while Fulton and Romero had a goal apiece. Sophomore Enrique Alvarez added a goal as well.
Freshman netminder Tyler Wilson made four stops on the day.
The Aztecs showed some stingy defense when No. 2 Yavapai College came to town on Sept. 15, but it wasn’t enough. The Roughriders scored twice for a 2-0 shutout.
On Sept. 13, PCC and Phoenix College played to a 1-1 tie. Fulton scored Pima’s only goal, and freshman Gabe Gauna had an assist.
Despite the up-and-down campaign, the Aztecs still hope for a return trip to the postseason, and their stellar defense may be just the ticket to get them there.
“Since I’ve been on the team, the defense has always been very strong and very organized,” Cornell said. “It’s consistently a strong aspect of our team.
“We transition well and we communicate well. We keep track of our marks, as well as keep our eyes on the ball at the same time. We just have a great understanding of each other and what we need to do.”
Pima returns to action on Sept. 27 at West Campus against Chandler-Gilbert Community College. The game will begin at 1 p.m.
Sept. 27: Chandler-Gilbert CC, West Campus, 1 p.m.
Sept. 29: Arizona Western College, West Campus, noon
Oct. 2: @ South Mountain CC, Phoenix, 1 p.m.
Oct. 6: GateWay CC, West Campus, noon
Oct. 9: Paradise Valley CC, West Campus, 1 p.m.
By STEVE CHOICE
It looks like the Pima Community College men’s soccer team decided to give opponents a taste of their own medicine.
The Aztecs were held scoreless in two consecutive games earlier this season, but subsequently shut out their next three opponents. The team ran its record to 3-2-1 on the year.
“We’re doing a lot better with our training and passing now,” freshman outside forward Tyler Terrell said. “We’re doing a lot of one-two touch stuff, and playing together better on the outsides.
“I think we’re going to keep doing better than how we started out.”
The team’s defensive improvement was evident on the road Sept. 11 against Paradise Valley Community College, as PCC played to a scoreless overtime tie.
Freshman goalkeeper Tyler Wilson stopped four Puma shots in the match.
Pima also blanked GateWay Community College 3-0 in Phoenix on Sept. 8.
Freshmen Alexis Medina and Cesar Quintero each put one past the Geckos’ goalkeeper, as did sophomore Michael Bonda.
Sophomore netminder Ben Eyde and freshman Hector Zambrano had four saves apiece on the day.
The Aztecs got the three-game shutout streak kicked off against South Mountain Community College on Sept. 1, hammering the Cougars 6-0.
Terrell had a stellar day, recording the squad’s first hat trick of the year in just 35 minutes of play.
“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I just worked hard and played my own game.
Freshman midfielder Fabian Romero also found the back of the net twice for Pima, and sophomore Enrique Alvarez had his first goal of the year. Sophomores Jacob Green and J.C. Henson each contributed an assist.
“All our goals gave from passing and ‘give and go’s,’ so we showed some really good teamwork there,” Terrell said.
Alvarez played his first year with South Mountain, and didn’t regret biting the hand that once fed him.
“It felt great getting a goal against them,” he said.
Zambrano and Wilson combined for the shutout in net, as PCC outshot the Cougars 21-4 on the day.
The Aztecs’ schedule gets pretty congested starting Sept. 13, when they begin a string of eight games in 20 days.
“This is definitely a very big phase for us coming up,” Terrell said. “We have a lot of work to do, and we just need to keep it up.”
Alvarez says Pima’s prepared for its upcoming matches.
“I feel like we’re ready with our conditioning,” he said. “We’ve been training since June 25, so fitness won’t be an issue.
“We just have to stay mentally strong. That’ll be a big factor in our success.”
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team may endure some growing pains as they mature this season, but head coach Dave Cosgrove remains optimistic.
“I like what we have this year,” Cosgrove said. “I’m excited for our season.”
Pima will need to find its rhythm quickly after being shut out its last two games to fall to 1-2 on the year. Cosgrove is confident growth will come.
“We’re inexperienced right now, with only three returning sophomores,” said Cosgrove, in his 15th year at the helm for PCC. “I’m seeing improvement, though. Every day we get a little better.
“This year’s squad is solid in every aspect. We need to be more organized, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
PCC’s season got off on the right foot at home against Glendale Community College on Aug. 23, as Pima thrashed the Gauchos 5-1.
Sophomores J.C. Henson and Declan Fulton each tallied two goals for the Aztecs in the contest. Freshman Tyler Terrell chipped in with an assist.
PCC allowed numerous Gaucho scoring chances, only outshooting their opponents 16-11. Netminder Ben Eyde was equal to the task, though, as the sophomore finished with seven saves.
The Aztecs’ next match was a heartbreaking overtime loss, as they fell 1-0 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
Pima controlled possession throughout, outshooting the Coyotes 10-1 on the day. However, CGCC struck in the 94th minute to hand Pima its first loss of the season.
Freshman goalkeeper Tyler Wilson saw his first collegiate action against CGCC.
The road got even rougher on Aug. 28 when PCC traveled to Yuma to take on Arizona Western College. AWC came into the season at No. 12 in the NJCAA rankings, and they looked every bit the part on their home pitch.
The Aztecs saw red all day against the Matadors, falling 3-0. Eyde made five stops in goal for PCC.
Pima will look for answers as it seeks to improve on last year’s 19-7-2 mark and fifth-place finish at nationals. Cosgrove believes his squad has what it takes.
“We want to challenge for both a conference and a regional title,” he said. “We look really strong up top, and we’re showing some good ability to score goals.
“Our returning players know what to expect, and I’ll look to them to kind of carry the freshmen.”
The Aztecs will take on South Mountain Community College on Saturday, Sept. 1 in a noon match at West Campus.
By LYNDAJOE ECHERIVEL
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team held tryouts for next season March 15 and 16 during Spring Break.
However, if you think you missed your chance to join the 2011 West District champions, you might be in luck because the Aztecs recruit year-round.
“We are always looking to give an opportunity for those overlooked during the recruiting process,” head coach David Cosgrove said. “We’re looking for our diamond in the rough.”
In the open-call tryouts, Pima was looking for five to eight players out of about 75 trying out to join the team.
The Aztecs will go into the 2012 season with a 34-man roster.
The Aztecs are expecting to return three starters and eight of their top 22 players, including All-American candidate Yayha Kane.
Kane missed last season due to injury.
Pima has solidified its spot as one of the top 10 NJCAA soccer programs over the last 15 years.
The 2011 team had one of the best years in the program’s history.
The Aztecs won the Region I title for the fifth time, won the West District title for the third time and finished fifth in the country.
By ROBERTO AVENDAÑO
Only in the United States and Canada is “the beautiful game” called soccer.
This ideological battle has existed for a long time. It will only increase now that “soccer” is gaining U.S. followers because of Major League Soccer and because both the male and female U.S. national teams participate in World Cups.
The United States is the only country in the world that plays American football at a professional level.
Meanwhile, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, known worldwide as FIFA, has 208 member countries. This tells me that 207 countries call the sport football, as it should be.
The logic is quite simple. The name is foot + ball. The ball is played with the feet of players during 97 percent of the match. It’s in the hands of the goalkeeper just 3 percent of the time.
In American football, the numbers change places. Most of the time, the ball is in the hands of players. So… why is it called football? It makes no sense. It’s like calling rugby English football or insisting that handball be called football.
As a native of Chile, this really bothers me. I know plenty of people from all over the world who also find it offensive.
It’s as if Americans think the rest of the world doesn’t matter and that things must be called by American names. The issue is not as serious as war or politics, but nonetheless it affects millions of people.
I am not saying that one sport is better than the other. I’m just saying that Americans should stop calling football “soccer.”
By ROBERTO AVENDAÑO
The excitement of Major League Soccer is coming to Tucson for the 2012 Desert Diamond Cup, which will be held at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium between Feb. 22 and March 3.
After years of hosting Major League Baseball preseasons, Tucson will now host professional soccer teams.
Teams participating in the preparatory tournament are Real Salt Lake, the New England Revolution, the New York Red Bulls and the current MLS champion, the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Sporting Kansas City and the San Jose Earthquakes are also doing preseason training in town, but won’t compete in the Desert Diamond Cup.
The tournament will feature doubleheader matches on Feb. 22, Feb. 25 and Feb. 29. The third-place and championship games will take place on March 3.
Some major stars will not be at the preseason tournament because they are on loan to English teams during the MLS break. The missing stars will include the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, and the Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry
Galaxy midfielder David Beckham might be in Tucson because his negotiations broke down with the French club Paris Saint-Germain.
The Red Bulls’ Rafael Marquez, who is currently training with FC Barcelona’s youth team, could also return to play preseason games in Tucson.
Tournament tickets range in price from $20 to $75. For additional information, visit fctucson.com.
By LYNDAJOE ECHERIVEL
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team closed out 2011 with a record of 19-7-2 and a fifth place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship Tournament.
Sophomore defender, Eric Glad, was named All-American by the NJCAA for his efforts this season.
Glad was also named to the All- Arizona Community College Athletic Conference/NJCAA Region 1 Men’s Soccer First Team. The 6-foot-5-inch Glad was the core of the Aztec defense.
He also helped out on the offensive side where he scored six goals, assisted on six others and placed third on the team with 18 points.
Glad’s All-American honor is the third in three years for the Aztecs as former player, Minh Vu, earned a second team nod in 2009 and a first team award in 2010.
By LYNDAJOE ECHERIVEL
The eighth seeded Pima Community College men’s soccer team tied the sixth seeded Lincoln College for fifth place at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship Tournament, Nov. 20.
With the 1-1 tie, the Aztecs couldn’t close the door on the Lynx of Lincoln. LC scored the only goal of the first half, which was answered back in the third minute of the second half by Aztec sophomore midfielder Jann Nash. Nash led the Aztec scoring throughout the playoffs.
“This last game was intense,” Nash said. “We were down for most of the game and I was able to score with three minutes left.”
Tournament rules did not allow for overtime or penalty kicks in consolation bracket play so the two teams settled for the tie.
With the tie, the Aztecs finished their season 19-7-2. The Aztecs also accomplished a NJCAA tournament first as their win over Iowa Western Community College on Nov. 19, was the first ever win for a team seeded eighth at the championship tournament.
“We did a lot this season, more than anyone expected so it was definitely something special,” Nash said.
Fellow Aztec, freshman forward Declan Fulton agrees their season was a success.
“What our team did this year is unprecedented, we set records no Pima team has ever done,” Fulton said. “We won the most amount of games in Pima men’s soccer history, we scored the fastest goal, the most goals in one game, the first eighth seeded team to win a game in nationals and the first shutout of Yavapai at their home field.”
Pima won their consolation bracket game as they defeated the fifth seeded IWCC, 1-0. Neither team scored in the opening half but sophomore forward Kolby Jacobson scored the only goal of the game with the assist from sophomore forward Nicholas Peppe. PCC lost their opening game at the 2011 NJCAA National Tournament as they were beat 1-0 by top seed Darton College, Albany GA, Nov. 17. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie at the half but the Cavaliers broke the deadlock midway through the second half, on a scramble in front of the Aztecs net. Pima had numerous goal attempts in the second half as they played most of the 45 minute period in the Darton end of the field, but the Aztecs could not find the back of the Cavalier’s net.
“Our season was fantastic considering the uneven playing field,” said head coach David Cosgrove.
Pima was the only team at the National Tournament without international players.
“Our whole team is American, and 20 out of 22 players are from the Tucson area,” said Fulton. “No team will ever have the their whole team from the same city.”
Next season the coaches look to rebuild the team since 15 of the 22 players are sophomores and will not be returning next year.
“We had so much team chemistry and so much passion throughout the year,” Fulton said. “It will be difficult filling in the holes for next year with our sophomores leaving since most of our team are sophomores.”
By AMY ZAMBRANO
Erika Heredia was awarded the Goalie of the Week honor by the National Junior College Athletic Association. In her two shutouts the freshman stopped eight shots in the 4-0 win against Cochise College, followed by a three save performance in a 3-0 over South Mountain Community College.
This national award is the first for any Pima Community College team this year.
Q: How’s the season going?
A: It was successful; We have our off days, as a team, but over all successful. We made our goal of being in the play offs.
Q: How do you feel about this award and being the first one to receive it?
A: I was surprised. I didn’t know this award existed until afterwards. But I was happy to receive it because I worked for it.
Q: What do you think it takes to get this award?
A: Dedication and you just have to want it.
Q: What do you like about your team teammates?
A: We have a lot of chemistry together. We work together, we work off each other, we all get along and there is no fighting; this is what brings us together.
Q: What are your dynamics with the other goalie?
A: My weakness is one v. one and hers are corners. Usually her weaknesses are my strengths and her strengths are my weaknesses so it works out well when we practice because we can work on them together. Usually I’m very good in the air and she’s really good on one v. one so we like to work off each other and practice. But overall we just go over everything.
Q: What do you do on a corner kick?
A: I like to get the ball before anyone can touch it, either in the air or if you can’t get it all the way just punch it out.
Q: What do you eat before games?
A: I pig out but that’s just me. I love food but it varies there is no routine. I definitely like to eat a lot, not junk food obviously, because I’d get hungry 30 minutes into the game. I load up on the carbs and protein and eat stuff that will make me full.
Q: What was the team’s goal for the season?
A: Making it to the playoffs was one. We are in better situation than last year already so we plan on doing well for the rest of the season.
By JAMES KELLEY
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team enjoyed a stellar week Oct. 4-10, winning 3-0 and 4-0 and sweeping conference player of the week awards.
On Oct. 11, they finally lost something.
GateWay Community College ended the Aztecs’ two-game win streak by beating Pima 2-1. The Aztecs (10-5, 10-5 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) had won six of their last seven.
“I thought that we were doing well, moving forward,” head coach Kendra Veliz said. “I think we came out complacent, not ready to play, and the other team capitalized on their opportunities.”
Sophomore midfielder Cynthia Fierro scored Pima’s goal against the Geckos, with freshman defender Eryca Carpio picking up the assist.
“The difference was the effort,” sophomore forward Celeste Carrera said. “We didn’t come out strong the first half. The second half we did and we got a goal, so we need to do that first half as well.”
For the week ending Oct. 10, Pima swept the ACCAC player of the week awards. Freshman Erika Heredia won the Goalkeeper of the Week award and Carerra took Player of the Week Award honors. It was Heredia’s second GoK award of the year.
“I’m very happy with Erika Heredia, she has surpassed my expectations as a keeper,” Veliz said.
Carerra, who has been battling injuries, said “that’s pretty cool,” about player of the week honors.
“I’ve had quad strains, so this year has been harder on me than last year,” she said. “I am working through it.”
Carerra estimtes she is at 80 percent.
“Last week she actually started to feel a little bit stronger and it made a difference for us,” Veliz said.
On Oct. 6, the Aztecs blew out South Mountain Community College, 3-0. Sophomore forward Jade Carr scored the first goal, Carrera scored the second and Fierro scored the third.
Heredia made three saves en route to her second straight shutout.
Going into play on Oct. 11, Pima was in fourth place in the conference. Veliz said the Aztecs would have to play themselves out of the playoffs, unlike last year where they barely got into the playoffs and on the last day as the sixth seed.
“I would say I am more confident than last year because last year we needed one win to get into the playoffs,” Veliz said. “At this point, we have to give away the playoffs. I’m hoping that this team is not the same as last year.”
Pima conquered Cochise College 4-0 on Oct. 4. Heredia earned the shutout after making eight saves, including on an Apache penalty kick.
“We had a windy day last week against Cochise, windy and rainy, and she handled the ball in the box really well,” Veliz said. “I’m very impressed with her, especially being a freshman she has adapted well.”
Sophomore midfielder Trinity Houk scored the first goal from an assist by Carrera, who also scored. Sophomore midfielders Sarah Hansen and Kelly Button also scored goals.
Pima fell to No. 5 Paradise Valley Community College, 3-1, on Oct. 1 at home. Heredia gave up three goals but made 13 saves.
Carr scored Pima’s goal on an assist from freshman forward Briana Simpson.
On Sept. 29, the Aztecs won their fourth in-a-row, 3-0, over Mesa Community College.
Heredia earned the shutout with five saves. Carpio scored the first goal off an assist by sophomore defender Suzie Hansen. Carrera and Carr scored the other two goals.
On Oct. 15, the Aztecs face No. 2 Scottsdale Community College on the road. Pima lost to the Fighting Artichokes 4-1 at home.
BY LYNDAJOE ECHERIVEL
Pima Community College men’s soccer player Declan Fulton cheated death a year ago after a hiking trip turned awry.
Fulton and a few friends were hiking the Tanque Verde Falls in Sabino Canyon in late August 2010. They spotted waterfalls and started to jump from above into a big pool of water.
Further downstream, another waterfall spilled over a ledge. That waterfall dropped 50 feet drop into a pool that was no deeper than 10 feet. After a shouted conversation with people below the falls, Fulton decided to slide down the ledge into a closer pool of water.
“I went to grab my friend’s hand and slipped,” Fulton said. “I knew I was going to fall, so I just threw myself off anyway. That saved my life because I would have landed on the rock at the bottom.”
The people below witnessed the fall and pulled Fulton into the shade. An off-duty paramedic who happened to be nearby helped him until a helicopter arrived.
“I remember hearing the helicopter come and I had to get airlifted out of there,” Fulton said. “Apparently it took two hours to get to the hospital.”
His parents, who live in Sierra Vista, met him at the hospital. Fulton had broken his pelvis, his elbow, a vertebrae in his back and some teeth, and punctured a lung.
His head would have suffered much more damage if he hadn’t covered it with his elbow.
“My elbow pretty much took the full impact of the fall,” Fulton said.
The following morning, Fulton woke up with his hands attached to the hospital bed. He had just one worry.
“I was trying to ask everyone, would I be able to play again,” he said.
After multiple surgeries, he finally got the answer he wanted. He could play soccer again despite having initial surgery on his elbow and a seven-hour pelvis surgery.
Fulton was in a wheelchair for almost three months and had in-house rehabilitation treatment.
“He’s a good kid, a very resilient kid,” men’s soccer head coach David Cosgrove said. “It’s truly remarkable.”
Fulton moved to Sierra Vista while recovering from his injuries.
“I was living in a house with stairs, so I moved back in with my family for the rest of the year,” he said.
While rehabbing, he started walking again. He also began playing soccer with friends, but was in pain while playing.
“I was trying to do too much, so I just gave it some time while I was in a men’s league,” he said. “I was starting to get some speed back and picked up the game back.”
It was “kind of a wakeup call” when he returned to Tucson for preseason training with his Pima team.
“Everyone was in better shape than I was,” he said. “I was behind everything.”
Fulton and Cosgrove agree that he isn’t back to 100 percent yet but has made significant strides in improving his game.
“Everyone knows that I’ve still got what it takes and it’s just going to take time for it to come back,” Fulton said.
“It’s amazing, he went from being in a wheelchair to scoring goals,” teammate Jordan Benson said.
Cosgrove is grateful to have Fulton back in the lineup.
“He’s getting better and better and considering where he was about this time last year, it’s a remarkable story,” Cosgrove said. “He does play every game and he logs significant time. He is a key component of the team right now.”
Fulton is currently the Pima men’s top scorer, with more than six goals and four assists.
“Declan is scoring the most goals and playing the best for us,” Cosgrove said.