By MARIA ANGULO
After a strong playoff run last season, the Pima Community College women’s soccer team opened the season ranked ninth nationally by NJCAA.
The Aztecs posted an overall record of 21-2-1 last year. Their season ended with a loss to Florida State in the second round of the national semifinals.
Kendra Veliz will continue her work as head coach.
“As far as last year, we met every goal we set for ourselves,” she said. “Our goal was to reach nationals and win our first game, because the previous year we lost our first game.”
Seven new players have joined the team this season.
“I am happy with the freshman class coming in,” Veliz said. “I think there’s a lot of talent there.”
Aug. 23: PCC 0, Paradise Valley CC 1
The Aztecs had a rocky start in their first game at 10th-ranked Paradise Valley Community College, losing 1-0.
It was the first game between the teams since last year’s Region I, Division I playoff. Pima won the 2015 game 2-1 and advanced to the NJCAA national tournament.
Aug. 27: PCC 4, South Mountain CC 0
The Aztecs won 4-0 when they hosted their first home game at Kino North Grandstand against the Cougars of South Mountain Community College.
Freshman Alexis Hernandez scored in the 27th minute and sophomore Maria Delgadillo scored three minutes later.
Sophomore forward Shania Pablo sealed the game with two second-half goals.
Both of the team’s goalkeepers played, with sophomore Daniela Sanchez playing the first half and freshman Tara Kase playing the second.
Aug. 30: PCC 3, Phoenix CC 1
Pima hosted a tight game against the Bears of Phoenix College on Aug. 30, but prevailed 3-1.
The Aztecs score twice in the first half with goals by Pablo and sophomore Destiny Jones.
The Bears tried bouncing back, scoring in the 78th minute.
Pima scored its third goal after sophomore Maury Urcadez was fouled inside the penalty area. Jones scored on the resulting penalty shot.
“We set our goals pre-season,” head coach Kendra Veliz said. “One of our pre-season goals was to win our home games.”
The team may still see many changes in alignment, according to Veliz.
“We’ve been struggling with injuries but we are hoping to get everybody some playing time so everybody adapts to the system we are playing,” she said.
Sept. 3: PCC 2, Cochise College 0
The Aztecs defeated the Cochise College Apaches in Douglas, 2-0.
Both goals came in the first half as Delgadillo scored in the 30th and 33rd minutes.
The goalkeepers again split playing time, with Sanchez registering two saves in the first half and Kase making two saves in the second half.
Sept. 6: PCC 0, Scottsdale CC 1
The Aztecs suffered their second loss when they played their third away-game of the season against the Artichokes of Scottsdale Community College.
With the score 0-0 at the end of regulation, the game went to overtime. The Artichokes scored the winning goal four minutes into the second overtime period, to remain unbeaten for the season.
Sept. 8: PCC 5, GateWay CC 0
In a home game at Kino North Grandstand, the Aztecs won with authority against the Geckos of GateWay Community College.
The Aztecs opened scoring in the first half with goals by Pablo in the 19th minute and by Hernandez in the 24th minute.
The team scored three more goals in the second half, from freshman Daelyn Mayer in the 56th minute, Pablo in the 67th and freshman Jahnmonique Smith in the 73rd.
The Geckos had two shots on goal, compared to 19 goal-scoring opportunities by the Aztecs.
Sept. 10: PCC 1, Chandler-Gilbert CC 3
The Aztecs lost their third game of the season on the road against the Coyotes of Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
Pima scored first with a goal by sophomore Sonia Garcia in the 14th minute, but the Coyotes bounced back, scoring twice in the first half. They secured the win with another goal in the second half.
Sept. 20: at Mesa CC, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22: at Arizona West College, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24: Paradise Valley CC, Kino Sports Complex, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27: at South Mountain CC, 3:30 p.m.
by DEANNA SHERMAN
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team (20-2-2) ended their season short of the NJCAA Division I National Title, falling against the No. 1 ranked Eastern Florida State College 4-1 on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Eastern Florida took control of the game early, putting the Aztecs down 2-0 at the half.
The scoring continued for Eastern Florida as it began to look as though they would shut out Pima 4-0 in the second half. Fortunately freshman Daniela Garcia saved the Aztecs from a shut out scoring late in the game in the 80th minute.
In Pima’s first game of the national tournament the Aztecs defeated Spartanburg Methodist College 3-1 on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
After ending the first half 1-1, Pima came into the second half of the game looking better than ever taking control of the game and ultimately clinched the victory.
Sophomore Callen Shelton scored the first and only goal of the first half and came back to score the first goal of the second.
Sophomore Devyn Hunley would be the one to seal the deal scoring the final shot in the 69th minute.
The Aztecs outshot Spartanburg Methodist 10-4 on the game and freshman goalkeeper Daniela Sanchez finished the day with three saves.
Head coach Kendra Veliz was honored at the ACCAC being named Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Hunley, sophomore Brandi Park and Sanchez were named to the All-ACCAC conference team.
“This last season as a whole was amazing, and we had a lot of success. We met all our preseason goals and even achieved more,” said Region I MVP Hunley.
“Nationals was another great experience and we were able to win one game and pave the way for next year’s team to reach a higher success when they make it next year.”
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team (21-4-2) ended an incredible season in dramatic fashion losing in overtime to Louisburg College during the semifinals of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.
Although the National Title was just out of reach for the Aztecs, third in the nation in the NJCAA is something to be proud of. It is also the best the Pima men’s soccer team has done sense winning the national title in 1999.
The first half of the game was scoreless thanks to three crucial saves from freshman goalkeeper Taylor Anderson.
Sophomore Alejandro Gonzalez would have the only point for the Aztecs as he scored late in the second half to put PCC into overtime 1-1. Louisburg would score another goal to seal the deal in overtime, 2-1 on Nov. 18.
In Pima’s last pool play game the men took out Lewis & Clark Community College 4-1 to advance to the NJCAA National Tournament semifinals.
This game marked the 21st win of the season for the Aztecs and the most single season wins in the program’s history.
In the first game of the National Tournament, the Aztecs fell to Hill College 3-2. Tied 1-1 at the half, Pima couldn’t manage to dig themselves out of the hole fast enough after being down 3-1 in the second.
Head coach David Cosgrove had been a part of Pima athletics for 17 years now and had been a part of many successful seasons.
“I’ve been here a long time,” said Cosgrove. “…by far this is the best semester for Pima Athletics that I’ve been apart of.”
With a numerous amount of Pima athletes getting honors and recognition this season, it’s hard to walk away with a negative outlook as the year comes to a close.
“We accomplished everything we set out to accomplish, aside from the national title, but we were close so I think we leave the post season with a sense of pride,” Cosgrove added.
by AUDRIE FORD
Pima Community College women’s soccer team (17-1-2, 17-1-2 in ACCAC) secured the number 1 seed for the Region I, Division I tournament after defeating Glendale Community College 5-0, on Oct. 24. This game also marked the Aztec’s twelfth shutout of the season.
In the game against Glendale, freshman Destiny Jones put the Aztecs on the board. She was followed by a goal from fellow freshman Shania Pablo.
Sophomore Brandi Park made a goal off of a penalty kick and fellow sophomore Devyn Hunley set the game at 4-0 with a goal soon after.
The final goal of the game was Jones’ second goal. Freshman goalkeeper Daniela Sanchez finished the game with four saves.
Several Pima players were recognized at the ACCAC awards. Hunley, Park and Sanchez, were selected First Team All-ACCAC/Region I. Freshman defender Sierra Heredia was named to the All-ACCAC/Region I Honorable Mention team.
Coach Kendra Veliz was named ACCAC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. Veliz boasts an impressive career, having led her teams to an undefeated record at home since they moved to the Kino Sports Complex.
The Aztecs had another shutout victory on Oct. 22, against GateWay Community College, 4-0.
Park pulled a hat trick, scoring three goals, two of them on penalty kicks and a third goal to secure the win.
The Aztecs defeated Cochise College 2-0 on Oct. 17, marking their 10th win in their last 12 games.
PCC earned their ninth shutout of the season against Cochise. Hunley put the Aztec’s on the board in the first half while sophomore Callen Shelton ensured the Aztec’s victory with a goal in the second.
While the Aztecs took 12 shots, Cochise did not take a single attempt at a goal.
Because they are the top seeded team, the Aztecs receive a bye and will host the Region I, Division I semifinal game at Kino North stadium on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. They’ll play the winner of the game between No. 5 Arizona Western College and No. 4 Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
On Oct. 26, Pima’s men’s soccer (17-2-2, 17-2-2 in ACCAC) won their quarterfinals match against Mesa Community College. The match was a 3-0 shutout game, with sophomore Jason Romero pulling yet another hat trick, scoring all three goals for the win.
Romero was also named ACCAC player of the year on Oct. 26. Throughout the season he scored 24 goals with eight assists and finished with 56 points during the regular season. Romero was second in the conference and fifth in the nation in goals scored.
This award marks the second consecutive year that the Pima men’s soccer team had a player named Player of the Year.
The team remains optimistic as they move into the playoffs. “We finished 9-0-1 at home and that’s never been done in the history of our program,” Pima coach David Cosgrove said. “The guys also locked up a home playoff game. These are great accomplishments but we talked about setting bigger goals for ourselves.”
The men finished the regular season undefeated at home, with five shutout games.
In their final regular season game, Pima secured their third straight shutout against Glendale Community College, 2-0, on Oct. 24.
Coming off a loss from Yavapai, the Aztecs recovered with a shutout win on Oct. 20 against Mesa Community College, 4-0.
Freshman Kyle VanAlstine put Pima on the board early on an assist from freshman Lorenzo Rodriguez, who then scored a goal of his own. Romero scored two goals of his own.
The Aztec’s defense held Mesa without a single shot on goal. This game marked Pima’s regular season sweep over Mesa after beating them 2-1 last month at Kino North Stadium.
In their game against GateWay Community College, Pima swept the board to earn a shutout victory. Romero had four goals in the game while sophomore Alejandro Gonzalez made a goal off of an assist from fellow sophomore Angel Heredia. Heredia made his goal with an assist from Rodriguez. Putting Pima up 5-0.
Sophomores Sergio Anaya and Rene Huerta both netted goals and freshman Gustavo Gonzalez-Ramirez had the final goal of the game. The Aztecs beat Gateway 9-0.
Though Pima had their winning streak snapped by Yavapai College 6-2 on Oct. 17, the team maintains an impressive standing and went into the first round of playoffs as the No.3 seed.
The Aztecs will continue their playoff run in the Region 1, Div. 1 Semifinals against Arizona Western College in Yuma, Wednesday, Oct. 28.
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team (13-1-2, 13-1-2 in ACCAC) ended their final regular season home game at Kino Sports Complex with ease, shutting out Paradise Valley Community College 11-0.
Freshman Juan Pablo Segura pulled off a hat trick in the second half alone, while sophomores Jason Romero and Alejandro Gonzalez each had two goals of their own.
The Aztecs have a rough schedule ahead of them as both the men’s and women’s team hit the road for four straight games before the playoffs begin in the final week of October.
The Pima men’s soccer team dominated Scottsdale Community College in their fourth shutout win on the season, 7-0.
The Aztecs easily scored four goals in the first half with no response from host SCC. Only to continue to do so in the second half with three more goals and a scoreless Scottsdale team. Finishing the game with perfection.
The Aztecs are currently ranked No.3 in the division and will end the season with four straight away games before the playoffs begin. “The team feels good and confident but our league is very tough. Having 4 road games at the end makes it even tougher. Every game is a challenge and we can’t afford to look past anyone or play poorly,” says Coach David Cosgrove. “Overall we have had a good season and are excited about what we can do in the playoffs…”
Pima played an aggressive game on Thursday, Oct. 8 at home against Chandler-Gilbert.
Although the Aztecs took the lead early on and would eventually take home the win, the game was not easily won in a tenacious second half battle.
PCC was is perfect form for the first half, finishing up 3-0. But in the second Chandler-Gilbert was not going to go out without a fight, cutting the Aztecs lead 3-2.
But that would be the only goals the Aztecs would allow as they went on to score two more goals late in the second to solidify their win 5-2.
Freshman Lorenzo Rodriguez scored a goal in both the first and second half. Sophomores Ryan Bristow and Jason Romero each had a goal in the first and an impressive free kick in the second half from sophomore Alejandro Gonzalez. A good team win to say the least.
The PCC men’s soccer team took home a last minute victory against No. 10 ranked Phoenix College on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Gonzalez scored the first goal of the game in the first half, but early in the second Phoenix College would tie it up 1-1.
The game looked as though it would end until Rodriguez scored the game winning goal in the 83rd minute. Freshman Taylor Anderson assisted the win with a notable six saves on the game. The Aztecs remain undefeated at home this season.
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team (13-1-2, 13-1-2 in ACCAC) defeated Paradise Valley Community College 3-2 on Tuesday, Oct. 13, in their last regular season home game. Finishing their season undefeated at home for the second year in a row.
Freshman Shania Pablo scored the game winning shot in the 85th minute to seal the victory. The Aztecs outshot Paradise Valley 13-9 and while freshman goalkeeper Daniela Sanchez had a notable seven saves for the night.
The Aztecs finally got back to what they do best, win.
Saturday, Oct. 11 the Aztecs played away against hosts Scottsdale Community College, resulting in a 4-1 victory for No. 2 ranked Pima women’s team. Sophomores Prescilla Gonzalez and Devyn Hunley each scored two goals.
For the second game in a row PCC would finish the game in another tie, this time at home against Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
The two women’s teams battled it out all night, neither side managing to score a goal. Ending the game scoreless 0-0. Pima did manage to double the attempts with 16, compared to Chandler Gilberts 8 attempts.
The Aztecs women’s soccer seven-game winning streak finally came to an end against Phoenix College on Tuesday, Sept. 29, but fortunately resulting in a tie, not a loss.
It seemed as though Pima was going to go home with a loss but thanks to sophomore Maria Mata the Aztecs scored late in the second half with an assist from Gonzalez, tying the score 1-1.
After two 10-minute overtimes neither Pima nor Phoenix College managed to score, resulting in a tie for the No.2 ranked Pima Aztecs.
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team (9-1-2, 9-1-2) defeated South Mountain Community College, (5-1) in Scottsdale on Sept. 26. Officially sweeping the regular season series against them.
Sophomore Jason Romero had three of the five goals, totalling nine for the season.
Pima had their first loss of the season on Sept. 24 in Yuma against Arizona Western College. The Aztecs lost 2-0 after trailing in the first half.
Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Anderson finished the game with four saves.
PCC continues to remain undefeated at home though, taking down Gateway Community College on Sept. 22, (7-1).
Sophomore Alejandro Gonzalez scored three goals, followed by goals from freshman Juan Pablo Segura and sophomore Angel Heredia, putting Pima at five goals in the first half.
Freshman Gustavo Ramirez-Gonzalez scored a goal off a penalty kick and fellow freshman Justin Stoermer scored a goal soon after.
Pima came out victorious against Mesa Community College (2-1) on Sept. 19, with sophomore Ryan Bristow and Segura scoring both Aztec goals in the first half.
The third ranked Pima Aztecs provided yet another exciting game on Sept. 15 against the fourth ranked Yavapai College.
Heredia put the Aztecs on the board ahead of the half at 1-0.
Yavapai came back in the second half to tie the game 1-1, leading to a double overtime where both teams failed to score.
Officially ending the game in a 1-1 tie.
Pima Community College women’s soccer (10-1, 10-1) had their eighth shutout of the season on Sept. 24 against Arizona Western College.
The game ended 2-0 with sophomore Devyn Hunley scoring both of the Aztec’s goals.
Pima has been playing at a very competitive level this season, and head coach Kendra Veliz has high praises for the players.
“We have had strong leadership from our captains, Chloe Cox and Devyn Hunley,” Veliz said. “Now having been to Nationals, our sophomores have a stronger desire to return. I believe this has helped our team have a better first half of the season than last year.”
In Pima’s seventh shutout of the season, Gateway Community College didn’t stand a chance, losing 7-0 on Sept. 22.
The freshman represented well in this game, scoring six of the seven goals. Freshman Maury Urcadez scored three goals, Destiny Jones had two goals and Maria Delgadillo had one.
PCC twice again dominated on Sept. 15 and Sept. 19.
The game against Cochise College showed off the Aztec’s talent, with a final score of 7-1.
Freshman Gentry McPherson put four on the board for Pima with assists from Hunley, Urcadez and sophomore Callen Shelton, while freshman goalkeeper Daniela Sanchez finished the game with four saves.
In the game against Mesa Community College, the Aztecs earned their fifth shutout at their home stadium, 2-0. Out-shooting Mesa 19-2.
The Sept. 29 games will be reviewed next issue.
By AUDRIE FORD
The Pima Community College men’s soccer team (6-0-1, 6-0-1 in ACCAC) is now ranked no.1 in the conference.
Coach Dave Cosgrove said that this is the best ranking the Aztecs have had since 2002.
Pima held onto their top rank on Tuesday, Sept. 15 against Yavapai College with a tie of 1-1.
Last season Pima lost both meetings to Yavapai last year but the scores were 1-0 (OT) and 2-1. You can bet the Aztecs were driven to turn the tide this season.
The rivalry was renewed on Sept. 15, and with rankings where they stand now this is the first time Pima has had the better ranking heading into a match-up with Yavapai.
Pima continued their winning streak against Paradise Valley Community College on Sept. 12, shutting them out 5-0.
Sept. 10 the Aztecs took down Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Sophomore Jason Romero scored two goals and had an assist in Pima’s 4-2 win. Sophomore Angel Heredia and freshman Juan Pablo Segura also netted a goal for the Aztecs.
The first shutout game of the season occurred Sept. 5 when PCC defeated Glendale Community College, 2-0.
Pima Community College women’s soccer continued their strong season Tuesday, Sept. 12 taking down Cochise College 7-1 at Kino Stadium. Their score matches their new league standing of 7-1.
Freshman Gentry McPherson scored a game high of four goals.
Pima beat Paradise Valley Community College on Sept. 12, giving Paradise Valley CC their first loss of the season.
Freshman Destiny Jones put PCC on the board early on in the game with an assist from freshman Aracely Romero. But it wasn’t until the second half that Pima was able to pull ahead of Paradise Valley.
With the game tied 1-1, sophomore Devyn Hunley put the Aztecs ahead of Paradise Valley in the second half with her goal off of an assist from fellow sophomore Callen Shelton. Park added an insurance goal to secure Pima the win.
The talented Aztecs were well rewarded at the ACCAC Players of the Week awards, with sophomore defender Sierra Heredia being named Player of the Week and freshman goalie Daniela Sanchez selected Goalkeeper of the Week for Aug. 31 to Sept. 6.
They got back on track at the Kino North Grandstand on Sept. 10 against Scottsdale Community College. Pima’s Gentry McPherson, freshman, scored two goals against SCC and sophomore Brandi Park had two assists.
Pima experienced their only loss against Chandler-Gilbert Community College on Sept. 7, losing by 3-2.
By AUDRIE FORD
After a terrific year last year, the men of the Pima Community College soccer program certainly wanted to start the new season on a great note with hopes of repeating a trip to the NJCAA national tournament.
The seventh-seeded Aztecs are currently 1-0, (1-0 in ACCAC conference), and after a weather cancellation on Aug. 22, they played their first match on Aug. 27 against South Mountain Community College.
At halftime, the Aztecs were trailing 1-0, but they made their comeback and ended up winning the game 4-2. The first goal was made by freshman Willy Villaman off of a cross-pass from fellow freshman Diego Morales. Less than 30 seconds later, Villaman scored the second goal with a cross-pass from sophomore Alejandro Gonzalez. Sophomore Jason Romero netted two insurance goals, with Villaman and freshman Lorenzo Rodriguez assisting.
Pima out-shot South Mountain 21-2 in the game, with freshman goalkeeper Taylor Anderson making one save. The team played their makeup game against Arizona Western College on Sept. 3, after Aztec Press went to the printer.
The ladies of the Pima Community College women’s soccer team have kicked off the 2015-16 season. Though their first game was scheduled for Aug. 22, it was cancelled due to weather. Pima had to wait until Aug. 25 to see their Aztecs in action, but the team made the wait worthwhile.
The team is currently 1-0, (1-0 and seeded seventh in the ACCAC conference), thanks to their victory against South Mountain Community College in the opening match of the season. The game ended at 2-0, and the Aztec’s defense represented strongly to ensure the opposing team only got to take two shots of their own, in contrast to the 17 shots Pima took. Freshman Daniela Sanchez was the starting goalie and blocked the first shot South Mountain Community College took. In the second half, sophomore Mason Howard took over and made the second save.
In addition to a strong defense, the team also excelled on the offensive side of the game. Sophomore Devyn Hunley put the Aztecs on the board in the 18th minute with an assist from fellow sophomore Brandi Park. Freshman Gentry McPherson made the second goal in the 25th minute with an assist from sophomore Priscilla Gonzalez.
Pima played their makeup game against Arizona Western College at the Kino North Stadium on Sept. 3, after the Aztec Press went to print.
By MICHAEL ANDERSON
The Men’s World Cup soccer tournament is the most popular sporting event in the world, and with good reason.
It is a true world championship, as soccer is played everywhere on the planet. Rabid fans the world over obsess over it, but this enthusiasm hasn’t extended to the Women’s World Cup. I’d like to see that change.
The Women’s World Cup, which is contested every four years, will be held in Canada this year. Twenty-four teams qualified for the tournament.
They are divided into six groups for round-robin play, with the top two in each group advancing to the knockout round.
The championship match will be held July 5 in Vancouver.
The U.S. team is in Group D with Sweden, Nigeria and Australia, whom they open up against June 8 in Winnipeg.
The Men’s World Cup Final is the world’s highest rated television programming, with recent editions approaching 1 billion viewers. Audiences for the Women’s World Cup are comparatively tiny, and this mystifies me.
The women players may not be as fast and strong or as rich and famous as their male counterparts, but that doesn’t matter.
They play with at least as much heart and their game can be just as compelling as the men’s. As a bonus for American fans, the United States team is arguably the best in the world.
What the women’s game lacks in raw athleticism, it makes up in skill, class and sportsmanship.
The women display a level of skill equal with the men and in their less athletic game, technical skill takes greater precedence. This emphasis on skill rather than power makes the flow of the women’s game very pleasing to the eye.
The women also behave much better on the pitch than the men. They argue less and commit fewer cheap shots.
They certainly don’t bite other players like Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez or punch referees like former Portuguese forward Joao Pinto.
In short, they display much better sportsmanship and respect for the officials and their opponents than the overpaid and coddled men do.
The biggest difference between the men and women is the propensity of the men to dive.
Some of the best male scorers fall down like they’ve been shot at the slightest hint of contact. They then grovel shamelessly on the ground, begging for a penalty to be called.
As soon as one is, they pop back up like nothing happened and go back to playing, unhindered by whatever non-existent injury they were just complaining about. It is utterly ridiculous.
The women, on the other hand, play with much more pride and much less theatrics.
Strong forwards like America’s Abby Wambach will run through even significant contact to get a scoring chance. Wambach is the leading scorer in international soccer history, men’s or women’s, with 178 goals.
When players like Wambach do get chopped down, they don’t whine incessantly. For the most part, they get up and play on. It is hard not to admire that attitude. The men sure could learn a little something from it.
The favorites for the tournament are the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. squad is led by Wambach, forward Alex Morgan, and goalkeeper Hope Solo.
Defending-champion Japan is led by team captain and inspirational leader Homare Sawa. Those teams squared off in a championship match for the ages in 2011.
As much as I wanted the U.S. to win, it was nice to see the Japanese players bring a little joy to their homeland, which had recently been hit by a devastating tsunami. Some of the players’ hometowns didn’t even exist anymore.
That match was also inspiring in that those teams like and genuinely respect each other, yet they battled like caged tigers.
The intensity was palpable, but when it was over they embraced one another in obvious displays of affection and respect. The world could learn a lot from those young women.
The 2015 Women’s World Cup begins June 6. It will be televised on the Fox family of networks and information about the event can be found at fifa.com/womensworldcup.
If you like to watch sports, but are fed up with overpaid brats, poor sportsmanship or any of the other ills that plague our sporting landscape, check out the Women’s World Cup. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
By BRYAN OROZCO
That word echoed through the Old Pueblo in an exciting roar as soccer fans attended the fourth annual FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup Feb. 18-28.
As part of Major League Soccer’s preseason, five of the league’s most dominant teams, alongside the FC Tucson semiprofessional team, competed for the Desert Diamond Cup trophy.
The tournament kicked off Feb. 18 at the Kino Sports Complex, with play continuing each Wednesday and Saturday through Feb. 28.
Three matches took place each game day, at 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., at both the North Stadium and North Grandstand Stadium fields.
The five MLS teams competing this year were Seattle Sounders FC, Colorado Rapids, Sporting Kansas City, New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake.
The Desert Diamond Cup uses a format that is familiar in the soccer world.
Each team plays every other team once in what is called the group stage. Points are awarded, with three points for a win, one point for a tie and zero points for a loss.
The first match of the first round was chock-full of what the soccer spectator wishes to see but also with what the head couch would not like to see.
The match between the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City ended in a draw, with two goals for each side. The teams accumulated seven yellow cards, including a double yellow card that resulted in a red card for Francisco Flores.
The second match was less aggressive, with two yellow cards on each side. The final score was 1-0, with Real Salt Lake winning over the New England Revolution.
The last game was the most awaited, with legions of Seattle Sounders FC fans painting the stands rave green as the Sounders took on FC Tucson.
The score was an easy 6-0 victory for the MLS team, with two goals scored by Clint Dempsey, the captain of the U.S. National Team.
Round two on Saturday seemed more packed and vibrant than the Wednesday matches.
Match one featured the Colorado Rapids against New England Revolution. The match ended in a draw, with one goal and two yellow cards for each side.
Match two saw the first goal for FC Tucson but also the second defeat as Real Salt Lake beat Tucson 3-1. Costa Rican player Álvaro Saborío scored two goals.
The third match boasted an attendance of 3,661 people, a record for the Kino North Stadium.
Sporting Kansas City took a first-half lead with two goals against the Sounders. Kansas City scored the third goal in the second half to symbolically seal the victory.
However the ongoing cheers from Seattle fans help the Sounders score two goals, which eased the pain of a 3-2 defeat.
The group stage ended with Real Salt Lake in first place with nine points and Colorado Rapids in second with five points
Sporting Kansas City and New England Revolution each had four points, but Kansas City earned the third-place slot because of a three-goal difference.
Seattle Sounders FC finished in fifth with three points and FC Tucson took sixth place with zero points.
The final matches were played Feb. 28.
New England Revolution won 3-0 over FC Tucson and finished fourth in the tournament, as they did last year. FC Tucson has not won a game in the history of the cup.
The second match saw a draw between Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC. Kansas City finished third in the tournament.
The last match of the tournament broke the previous attendance record at Kino North Stadium, which was just set a week before, with 3,692 in attendance.
Real Salt Lake took on the Colorado Rapids to see who would raise the cup this year.
Goals came early in the game as Olmes García scored a goal in the 8th minute for Salt Lake.
The match ended in a draw at the half, with Colorado’s Dillion Serna scoring the tying goal in the 28th minute.
The goal that won the match for Real Salt Lake came in the 51st minute. Javier Morales sealed Salt Lake’s 2-1 championship victory with a free kick.
Real Salt Lake is the fifth champion of the Desert Diamond Cup and is the second team to do so with a 4-0-0 tournament record.
Morales received the Eegees MVP award for his championship-winning goal.
His teammate, Devon Sandoval, received the Tucson Electric Power Copper Boot for being the top goal scorer of the tournament with three goals to his name.
Both the Seattle Sounders FC and Colorado Rapids have previously lifted the Desert Diamond Cup trophy. The other two past champions, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire, did not participate in this year’s tournament.
FC Tucson looks forward to another MLS preseason in Tucson next year. Visit fctucson.com for additional information about the tournament or FC Tucson.
With the MLS season starting March 6, the excitement of soccer and the increasing popularity of the sport across the nation only see the MLS growing in a positive direction in the world of soccer.
By ADRIANNA BARRIENTEZ
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team held its own against the No. 2 team in the country on Nov. 19 but didn’t finish with a win.
The seventh-seeded Aztecs lost 4-1 to No. 2 Monroe College (New Rochelle, N.Y.) in the final Pool B match of the NJCAA national tournament in Florida. At an awards ceremony Nov. 22, Pima received the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award.
Monroe went on to win the tournament, defeating No. 1 Iowa Western 2-1 in the championship game. After losing the first game of the tournament, Pima had to beat Monroe by four goals to force a playoff match or win by five goals to move on to the semifinals.
“I’m really proud of the way we rallied and played today against the No. 2 seed,” head coach Kendra Veliz said in a press release. Sophomore Angelica Gonzalez made 10 saves and the Pima defense held its own early in the first half, but Monroe led 1-0 at halftime.
In the second half, Pima took a shot on goal within the first minute and tied the game 1-1 shortly after when freshman Devyn Hunley headed in a goal.
The goal came off a corner kick by freshman Brandi Park. Monroe pulled away with three goals by the same player in the final minutes. In the first game of the national tournament on Nov. 18, Pima took an early lead against No. 11 Owens Community College of Ohio but then played a game of catch-up.
The Aztecs tied the game near the end of the first half but surrendered three goals in the second half for a 5-2 loss. Sophomore Shannon Shields gave the Aztecs a 1-0 lead when she recovered a ball and hit a shot in the early minutes.
Owens CC tied the game 30 seconds later and took the lead at the midway mark. Sophomore Rachel Ridlinghafer tied the game 2-2 when she scored on a header with minutes left in the first half.
Park had the corner kick assist. Owens CC scored three goals in the final minutes of the second half. Pima outshot Owens 19-9 and Gonzalez finished the game with four saves. Veliz said the final scores don’t reflect PCC’s quality of play in the tournament.
“I don’t think either scoreline is indicative of the way we played,” she said. The Aztecs finished the season with a 16-6-2 overall record and were 11-0-1 at the Kino North Grandstand. Shields was named ACCAC conference Player of the Year after finishing with 21 goals for the season. Veliz was named ACCAC conference Coach of the Year.
By CALEB FOSTER
The season ended Nov. 20 for the Pima Community College men’s soccer team after a loss at the NJCAA national tournament in Prescott.
The No. 5 Aztecs advanced to the tournament quarterfinals before being eliminated. They fell 5-0 to a fourth-seeded Texas team, Tyler Junior College. Tyler went on to win the national championship on Nov. 23. Pima finished the season at 21-5-1, with a 12-1-1 home record. Their 21 wins were the most in a season under head coach David Cosgrove, who’s been with the program for 18 years. The previous record for wins was 19 in 2011.
“It was a terrific year for us,” Cosgrove said in a press release. The Nov. 20 game was scoreless in the first half but went downhill for the Aztecs after play resumed.
“Tyler is very good and they were better or equal to us tonight,” Cosgrove said. “We didn’t score first and that hurt. We gave up some really bad goals.” The Aztecs opened tournament play Nov. 19 with a 2-1 comeback victory against No. 9 Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.
CCBC-Essex scored in the fifth minute for an early lead. Pima evened the score in the 24th minute when freshman Alejandro Gonzalez connected off an assist from freshman Hector Banegas. Freshman Santiago Carrillo scored the go-ahead point in the 31st minute.
Carrillo’s goal turned out to be all that was needed for the win, as the second half turned into a defensive battle. Freshman goalkeeper Sam Kavathas had three saves in the victory, including a game-winning save in the final seconds.
During the regular season, sophomore Arturo Vega was selected ACCAC Conference Player of the Year. Cosgrove also earned his 250th win. Cosgrove called the season “a year to remember” and praised his team.
“I couldn’t be happier with the numerous marks we set this year,” he said.
“Our most wins in program history and our best home record ever. We also could have the best team GPA we’ve ever had.” The team raised expectations for Pima soccer to another level, Cosgrove added. “This group has changed the landscape,” he said.
By ADRANNA BARRIENTEZ
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team held its own against the No. 2 team in the country on Nov. 19 but didn’t finish with a win.
At an awards ceremony Nov. 22, Pima received the tournament’s Sportsmanship Award.
The seventh-seeded Aztecs lost 4-1 to No. 2 Monroe College (New Rochelle, N.Y.) in the final Pool B match of the NJCAA national tournament in Florida.
Monroe went on to win the tournament, defeating No. 1 Iowa Western 2-1 in the championship game.
After losing the first game of the tournament, Pima had to beat Monroe by four goals to force a playoff match or win by five goals to move on to the semifinal round.
“I’m really proud of the way we rallied and played today against the No. 2 seed,” head coach Kendra Veliz said in a press release.
Sophomore Angelica Gonzalez made 10 saves and the Pima defense held its own early in the first half, but Monroe led 1-0 at halftime. The Aztecs managed two shots on goal.
In the second half, Pima took a shot on goal within the first minute and tied the game 1-1 shortly after when freshman Devyn Hunley headed in a goal. The goal came off a corner kick by freshman Brandi Park.
Monroe kept the Aztecs on their heels and pulled away with three goals by the same player in the final minutes.
In the first game of the national tournament on Nov. 18, Pima took an early lead against No. 11 Owens Community College of Ohio but then played a game of catch-up.
The Aztecs tied the game near the end of the first half but surrendered three goals in the second half for a 5-2 loss.
Sophomore Shannon Shields gave the Aztecs a 1-0 lead when she recovered a ball and hit a shot in the early minutes. Owens CC tied the game 30 seconds later and took the lead at the midway mark.
Sophomore Rachel Ridlinghafer tied the game 2-2 when she scored on a header with minutes left in the first half. Park had the corner kick assist.
Owens CC scored three goals in the final minutes of the second half.
Pima outshot Owens 19-9 and Gonzalez finished the game with four saves.
Veliz said the final scores don’t reflect PCC’s quality of play in the tournament.
“I don’t think either scoreline is indicative of the way we played,” she said.
The Aztecs finished the season with a 16-6-2 overall record and were 11-0-1 at the Kino North Grandstand.
Shields was named ACCAC conference Player of the Year after finishing with 21 goals for the season. Veliz was named ACCAC conference Coach of the Year.
By CALEB FOSTER
The season ended Nov. 20 for the Pima Community College men’s soccer team after a loss at the NJCAA national tournament in Prescott.
The No. 5 Aztecs advanced to the tournament quarterfinals before being eliminated. They fell 5-0 to a fourth-seeded Texas team, Tyler Junior College.
Pima finished the season at 21-5-1, with a 12-1-1 home record.
Their 21 wins were the most in a season under head coach David Cosgrove, who’s been with the program for 18 years. The previous record for wins was 19 in 2011.
“It was a terrific year for us,” Cosgrove said in a press release.
The Nov. 20 game was scoreless in the first half but went downhill for the Aztecs after play resumed.
“Tyler is very good and they were better or equal to us tonight,” Cosgrove said. “We didn’t score first and that hurt. We gave up some really bad goals.”
The Aztecs opened tournament play Nov. 19 with a 2-1 comeback victory against No. 9 Community College of Baltimore County-Essex.
CCBC-Essex scored in the fifth minute for an early lead.
Pima evened the score in the 24th minute when freshman Alejandro Gonzalez connected off an assist from freshman Hector Banegas.
Freshman Santiago Carrillo scored the go-ahead point in the 31st minute.
Carrillo’s goal turned out to be all that was needed for the win, as the second half turned into a defensive battle.
Freshman goalkeeper Sam Kavathas had three saves in the victory, including a game-winning save in the final seconds.
During the regular season, sophomore Arturo Vega was selected ACCAC Conference Player of the Year. Cosgrove also earned his 250th win.
Cosgrove called the season “a year to remember” and praised his team’s actions on and off the field.
“I couldn’t be happier with the numerous marks we set this year,” he said. “Our most wins in program history and our best home record ever. We also could have the best team GPA we’ve ever had.”
The team raised expectations for Pima soccer to another level, Cosgrove added.
“This group has changed the landscape,” he said.
By ADRIANNA BARRIENTEZ
Players on the Pima Community College women’s soccer team waved little toy alligators after winning the regional championship Nov. 1, signifying they are going to Florida to compete in the NJCAA national tournament Nov. 17-22.
The Aztecs will be the No. 7 national seed in the tournament at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, Fla.
In the Region I/District A championship game, No. 1 seeded Pima (16-4-2) rallied to defeat No. 2 Chandler-Gilbert Community College 3-1. Chandler-Gilbert was the team that knocked PCC from the semifinals last season.
In the Nov. 1 game, Chandler-Gilbert struck first with a goal in the 18th minute. The Aztecs responded in the 20th minute when sophomore forward Shannon Shields split two defenders and got past the Chandler-Gilbert goalkeeper for a goal. The score was tied 1-1 at halftime.
Shields put the Aztecs ahead for good with her second goal in the 60th minute. Freshman forward Devyn Hunley had the assist.
“I knew I was going to have to play big soccer to get the win and I think it was a matter of finding the goals,” Shields said.
Sophomore Kathy Fisher scored the final goal in the 81st minute, off a pass from Shields.
“Kathy has been working through an injury all season and for her to get that goal, especially in this game, was just icing on the cake,” Shields said.
Shields was named the Region I, Division I/District A Most Valuable Player.
Sophomore forward Rachel Ridlinghafer has also played a huge role for the Aztecs this season and said she feels great about the win.
“I’m so excited for our team to go to Florida and I couldn’t be happier,” she said.
On Oct. 29, the Aztecs won a hard-fought semifinal playoff game 2-1 against No. 4 Paradise Valley Community College. Paradise Valley won NJCAA national titles in 2010 and 2012.
Hunley scored Pima’s game-winning goal in the 85th minute.
Ridlinghafer scored first on a sliding goal in the 24th minute off an assist from Hunley. Paradise Valley tied the game with a goal in the 31st minute.
After Hunley scored Pima’s second goal, Paradise Valley fired a shot less than a minute later but sophomore goalkeeper Angelica Gonzalez made the save.
“It felt like it was a good match,” Gonzalez said. “They were not an easy opponent but the better team came out.”
The Aztecs outshot Paradise Valley 11-2.
Pima took top honors when the All-Conference/Region I teams were released on Oct. 27, with head coach Kendra Veliz named Coach of the Year and Shields selected as Player of the Year.
Shields scored 18 goals, had seven assists and led the team with 43 points during the regular season.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Shields said. “I really appreciate it but it’s really not an award without your team … couldn’t have done it without them.”