By: Rene Escobar
The Pima Community College baseball team (15-17, 6-14 conference) has shown a fire-and-ice trend as the team starts out hot but cools off as the game wears on.
“It’s a long season,” sophomore catcher Shawn Bracamontes said. “We’ll figure it out.”
March 4: PCC 8, Glendale 9/ PCC 2 Glendale CC 6
The Aztecs dropped their fourth straight game in a nail biter.
Sophomore Anthony Felix hit a two-run double to tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the third.
Sophomore Manny Ramirez gave the Aztecs a short-lived lead in the fourth inning after he hit an RBI single.
The Aztecs fought back in the seventh inning to tie the game once more. Sophomore Oscar Larranaga hit an RBI double that scored pinch runner Jared Kromminga.
Heading into the top of the 11th inning, the game was knotted at 8 to 8.
The Aztecs still had a shot heading into the bottom of the inning. However they left the tying run on third base in the bottom of the 11th inning.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Aztecs came out firing but lost momentum as the game played on.
March 7: PCC 2, GateWay 6/ PCC 1, GateWay 3
The first game was an offensive nightmare for the Aztecs, who scored two on four hits for the entire game.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the offensive struggles continued as the Aztecs managed one run on two hits. Aztec batters draw eight walks for the game.
March 11: PCC 2, Yavapai 4/ PCC 8, Yavapai 3
The Aztecs ended a sevengame free fall with a split in Prescott. Pima lost the first game of the doubleheader but won the second.
In game one, the Aztecs trailed early and were down by three in the third inning. They fought back in later innings but failed to take the lead, and managed just three hits for the game.
One swing broke the losing streak in game two.
With Pima trailing by two in the third, sophomore Erick Migueles hit a three-run homerun to spark his teammates.
“We needed it,” Echols said.
The Aztecs rode the energy given off by the homerun to add on another three runs in the fifth.
March 14: PCC 9, Monroe 2/ PCC 3, Monroe 7
The Aztecs drew first blood in the first inning, scoring three runs. They poured it on in the fourth to secure the lead for good.
The Aztecs drop the second game in a poor offensive performance, leaving 10 runners on base.
March 15: PCC 7, Mesa 3 The Aztecs took down No. 5
Mesa Community College in a makeup game from a rained-out exhibition on Feb. 18.
March 17: PCC 4, Madison 2
The Aztecs’ win streak continued as they defeated Madison at West Campus.
The team was down by two in the bottom of the sixth, but Migueles changed the complexion of the game with a triple to take the lead.
March 21: PCC 2, Scottsdale CC 6/ PCC 8, Scottsdale CC 4
The Artichokes took command in game one as they quickly amassed a 3-0 lead and widened it with three runs in the fifth.
Sophomore Miguel Figueroa took the loss, giving up six runs on seven hits, nine strike outs and two walks.
In game two, the Aztecs rallied to earn a split when Ramierz helped score three runs in the first inning and four more in the fourth.
Freshman Jose Contreras picked up the win giving up only four runs off seven hits, six strikeouts and two walks.
Photo by Rene Escobar
Redshirt freshman Austin Treadwell takes a pitch at West Campus against El Paso Community College
By Katelyn Roberts
After hosting their own indoor invitational, the Aztecs take to the road, with their next home meet on April 8.
NJCAA Indoor National Championships
The Aztecs headed to Pittsburg, Kansas, March 3 and 4, to compete in the NJCAA Indoor National Championships.
Sophomore Sam Shoultz placed first in high jump with 7 feet, 0.5 inches. Shoultz gained NJCAA All-American status.
Sophomore Hanna Bartz also earned NJCAA All-American honors and was the runner-up in the women’s long jump with 19 feet, 1.25 inches. The jump was Bartz’s personal best.
In the men’s distance relay, freshmen Victor Bustamante and Collin Dylla, and sophomores Alex Palacios and David Fernandez took seventh place with 10:30.96.
Sophomore Treyshon Malone took seventh in the long jump at 24 feet, 0.75 inches. Freshman Cam Duffy took eighth at 23 feet 7.25 inches.
Breaking Pima’s record in the 60-meter dash preliminary race, sophomore Amber McCroskey finished with a time of 7.72 second, beating her old record by 0.07 seconds.
Freshman Rhiannon Bearup also set a Pima record in the 60-meter hurdles preliminary race at 9.03 seconds.
McCrosey, Bearup, sophomore Melissa Cotsonas and freshman Tyra Yanez broke another their own PCC record in the 4×400 relay race with a time of 3:54.85, beating their old record by 6.65 seconds.
The men’s team finished in sixteenth place with 15 points, and the women’s team tied for twenty-first with eight points.
Willie Williams Invitational
Outdoor season began at the Willie Williams Invitational March 17 and 18. The UA hosted the meet at Roy P. Drachman Stadium.
Shoultz took first in the high jump with 5 feet 0.50 inches.
Malone took first in the long jump at 24 feet 0.50 inches, earning an outdoor national qualifier.
Duffy took second in long jump at 23 feet, 4.5 inches and third in triple jump with 46 feet, 4 inches.
The Yanez, Bartz, Bearup, McCroskey 4×100 relay team took fifth with a time of 47.88 seconds, earning a national qualifier.
With a jump of 5 feet, 5 inches, freshman Megan Shiffmacher took second in high jump and earned a national qualifier.
Pima only has two more meets before the ACCAC meet in Glendale on April 1.
Hannah Bartz & Samuel Shoultz
Photos courtesy of PCC Athletics
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
After a series of scrimmages, the Pima Community College tennis teams played conference meets against Mesa and Glendale to start their season.
“The team adapts really well to play styles they have never seen before,” head coach Ian Esquer said.
March 9: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9
In their third match, the Aztecs (2-2, 1-2 conference) were swept at home by the No. 8 Mesa Community College Thunderbirds.
Aztec freshmen Emma Oropeza and Janine Fernando dropped the No. 1 doubles match 8-2.
Oropeza also dropped her No. 1 singles match, 6-2, 6-3.
Sophomore Ashley Ochoa played a close second set but fell 6-1, 7-5.
March 21: PCC 9, Glendale CC 0
Oropeza led a string of defeats against Glendale in singles, as she defeated her opponent 6-0, 6-2.
Freshmen Jayme Shafer and Elise Rodriguez dominated their No. 3 doubles 8-1.
March 9: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9
The No. 7 Mesa Community College Thunderbirds swept the Aztecs (2-1, 1-1 conference) in a home meet.
Pima sophomores Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton played a close doubles match but lost 9-8.
Avalos lost his No. 1 singles match, 6-0, 6-1. Ton lost his No. 2 singles match 6-0, 6-1.
March 21: PCC 8, Glendale CC 1
As the Aztecs dominate Glendale, Ton was able to come away with a big victory in his No. 2 singles in a three-set tie-breaker, 6-4, 5-7, 1-0.
March 23: Paradise Valley CC, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.
March 29: Mesa CC, 11 a.m.
March 23: Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, 1:30 p.m.
March 28: Eastern Arizona, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.
March 29: Mesa CC, 1:30 p.m.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
After a sweep against Imperial College, the Pima Community College men’s and women’s teams played in a preseason tournament in Mesa.
“It went really well,” head coach Ian Esquer said.
Other schools such as Eastern Arizona and Arizona Christian University weren’t expecting the new coach and his team to get as far as they did, Esquer said.
“I was happy everyone played and had fun,” he said.
ACCAC preseason tournament
For doubles, the men’s team got to the finals of the main draw and the semifinals of the back draw.
“Arizona Christian University played and we beat them in the finals, so they were pretty impressed, as was I,” Esquer said.
ACCAC preseason tournament
In singles, freshman Emma Oropeza made her way to the semifinals of the main draw, while freshmen Janine Fernando and Lien Nguyen reached the back draw finals.
In doubles Oropeza and Nguyen made it to the semi’s of the back draw.
Feb. 23: Eastern 8, PCC 1
PCC’s game in Thatcher resulted in just one win, from freshman Elise Rodriguez. She won her No. 6 singles 7-6. The Aztecs lost every other match on the road.
By CASEY MUSE JR.
Ice hockey surely is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of things to do in Tucson.
Average temperatures regularly reach the 70s during winter months and snow is pretty much a foreign object.
Despite all that, the National Hockey League Arizona Coyotes agreed in April 2016 to purchase their American Hockey League affiliate team, the Springfield Falcons, and relocate them to Tucson.
In May, the team signed a 10-year lease to play home games at the Tucson Convention Center downtown.
After a local naming contest, the franchise officially became the Tucson Roadrunners.
Mark Lamb of the Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos became the Roadrunners’ first head coach in June.
“We have a lot of guys playing hard,” Lamb said. “Talent-wise and player-wise, we are working hard.”
New franchise brass have worked hard to put together a competitive roster in the first year.
Young stars like defenseman Kyle Wood offer an opportunity for locals to experience the future of professional hockey.
“It’s been really fun playing here,” Wood said.
Besides building a winner, the biggest challenge for the team is garnering community support. Several names behind the scenes are determined to do just that.
Director of Media Relations Tom Callahan is an East Coast guy who has loved the sport of hockey since he was a kid.
“Coming to a market like Tucson, where I believe only University of Arizona club hockey has been played occasionally, is definitely a challenge,” Callahan said. “It is like a mission to bring hockey to people who may or may not be fans, or maybe they are casual fans.”
Callahan stressed the importance of exposing children to the game.
“There are kids out here who are experiencing their first hockey game and maybe they are hooked, maybe they’ve found a new favorite player and will try to get their parents to take them skating and get them involved,” he said. “It is all about sharing that passion and creating fans.”
Callahan broadcasts play-by-play for every game on AM radio 1450. The station is also available on the iheartradio app for students.
To encourage attendance, the club offers a Tucson Roadrunners student rush pass.
Eligible students can visit tucsonroadrunners.com and provide their name, phone number and an active collegiate email address.
The club will contact students via text message on game day to offer special drink and concession deals.
Digital Operations Manager Alexander Kinkopf is in charge of running the team’s various social media accounts, and considers it his job to make hockey appealing to college students.
“People get so tired of the traditional final scores or player updates,” he said. “When people see an official team account show some sort of personality or some sort of voice, it really strikes a chord.”
Kinkopf keeps up with trends in an effort to make the Roadrunner’s social media more relatable.
“One of the most fun parts of my job is to be able to be creative with the sport and to be able to relate it to pop culture,” he said.
Kinkopf encourages students to follow the Roadrunners on Twitter @RoadrunnersAHL or like the team page on Facebook.
“It is very important to us to cater to the local college students here,” he said.
Hockey is arguably the most entertaining sport on the planet. It is fast-paced and action-packed, making it is easy for a casual fan to evolve into a die-hard.
Pima Community College students can enjoy the experience first-hand by supporting the Tucson Roadrunners.
Single-game tickets start at $14. For more information or to buy tickets, call 866-77-HOCKEY toll-free or visit tucsonroadrunners.com.
Feb. 24, 25, 28: San Jose, TCC, 7:05 p.m.
March 17, 18: Bakersfield, TCC, 7:05 p.m.
March 25: San Jose, TCC, 7:05 p.m.
March 26: San Jose, TCC, 4:05 p.m.
March 28: San Antonio, TCC, 7:05 p.m.
March 31: San Diego, TCC, 7:05 p.m.
April 1: San Diego, TCC, 7:05 p.m.
By EDDIE CELAYA
In a semester punctuated by a bench-clearing brouhaha, Pima Community College sports was never a bore to follow. The fall sports schedule, like the semester, is coming to an end. Let’s look back on how PCC teams and individuals performed.
There was the football team, led by unexpected starting quarterback Justin Martin. Martin, who was originally brought on as a receiver, ended up leading the team in both passing and rushing yards.
He finished the year with nearly 2,000 yards passing and almost 350 yards rushing.
Four other Aztecs were named to either first or second team all conference. Sophomore receiver Jeff Cotton, nominated for All-American consideration, led the conference in total receiving yards and in yards per game. Congrats gentlemen.
The men’s and women’s soccer teams also performed well.
The women’s squad compiled a 16-6-1 season and reached the conference championship game. Sophomore Destiny Jones and freshman Alexis Hernandez lead the team with 11 goals each.
This year’s men’s soccer team will be remembered for winning the conference championship, only to be accosted and ultimately denied a chance to participate at nationals. This was all due to Phoenix College rushing the field to attack PCC players.
The decision to bar the team from participating further was an embarrassment to the National Junior College Athletics Association in general and to NJCAA Executive Director Mary Ellen Leicht in particular.
No lesson was taught and no justice meted out. Shameful, really.
Of course it wasn’t all gloom and doom for the other PCC sports. Cross Country saw top performers for both the men’s and women’s teams compete at nationals.
For the women, sophomore Samantha Felzien placed 45th out of 316 competitors.
Women’s volleyball wrapped up a tough year, but the team wasn’t without standout performers. Sophomore Aleksandra Palmer lead the team in kills and points, and freshman Kylee Ashment led in both solo and assisted blocks.
The Aztec Press would like to congratulate all of the fall sports teams and players, coaches and assistants. You personify the highest ideals of what a student athlete can be, and provide us with some great entertainment.
Thank you, and go Aztecs! See you in the spring.
By CASEY MUSE JR
The Pima Community College football team (3-5, 2-4 in WSFL) came close to completing a big comeback in a road contest against Glendale Community College on Nov. 5, but lost 30-24.
The Aztecs battled in the first half to a manageable 16-10 deficit, but it was all Glendale in the third quarter. The Aztecs were outscored 14-0 and entered the fourth quarter down 30-10.
Freshman quarterback Justin Martin and the offense found life on their opening drive of the quarter when Martin connected with sophomore receiver Caymen Metcalf for a 17-yard touchdown.
After the Pima defense forced a punt on the next drive, Martin connected with sophomore Jeff Cotton on a 48-yard touchdown reception to make it a one-score game with just over five minutes left in the game.
Another good series by the Aztecs defense gave Martin and company one last shot to obtain the win. Martin found Cotton for a 35-yard reception to get the Aztecs past midfield, but the offense stalled and time ran out.
Martin finished the game with three touchdowns.
On Oct. 29, PCC used a huge offensive second half to end a three-game losing streak. The Aztecs took down the Phoenix College Bears 69-27 in resounding fashion.
The home game began with a tight first quarter that saw one Pima touchdown matched by a Phoenix College field goal.
The Aztecs broke the game open with their best offensive quarter of the season in the second. Pima scored 28 points and took a 35-13 lead into the halftime break.
The team added another 34 points in the second half while dismantling Phoenix College’s defense.
Martin had another solid outing with 14 pass completions for 320 yards and one touchdown.
He also ran the ball 11 times for an additional 81 yards and two touchdowns. His longest rushing touchdown was an athletic 19-yard scramble.
Freshman Christian Wilridge had 10 carries for 79 yards and one touchdown. Cotton had six catches, 152 yards and one touchdown.
The offense finished the game with 634 total yards.
Pima’s defense did its job as well. Freshman Dominique Fenstermacher returned an interception for a 46-yard touchdown at the end of the first half.
By CASEY MUSE JR
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team opened the season with two decisive non-conference victories, a 127-68 win over Vegas Impact and a 138-63 win over Three Kings Prep Academy from Windsor Ontario, Canada.
Pima was scheduled to play Arizona Christian Academy Nov. 9. The game took place after the Aztec Press went to the printer.
The Aztecs were in control for the entire Nov. 6 game against Vegas Impact. They started the game on a 23-0 run and took a 64-25 lead into the halftime break. The second half was more of the same, behind 52 points from the bench unit.
Six Aztecs scored double points. Sophomore Dakota Kordsiemon notched a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Deion James lead the team in scoring with 23 points. Freshman Ilunga Moise was a factor off of the bench, with 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Aztecs also controlled the game against Three Kings Prep Academy, posting a 83-26 lead at the half.
Freshman Isaiah Murphy led the way with 22 points, shooting 10-of-13 from the field. Three other players had 17 points each.
Pima continues home play with games scheduled Nov. 13-22 at the West Campus gym.
The Aztecs return six players from last season’s team, including one redshirt.
Sophomore guard Keven Biggs returns to the team looking to embrace a new leadership role. Biggs averaged 10.1 points and 1.7 assists per game in a 2015 season that saw the Aztecs make their third consecutive appearance in the Region I, Division II playoffs.
He will look to improve upon those numbers and lead the backcourt unit this season along with fellow sophomore Zach Evans.
Also look for sophomore big man Justice Bessard to evolve into a team leader. Bessard stands 6 feet, 6 inches tall and averaged 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 2015.
Head coach Brian Peabody will lead the team in his fourth season at Pima.
Peabody had more wins at the high school level (443) than any coach in Tucson history, and has worked each season to rebuild PCC’s program.
PCC had a 12-10 conference record in 2015, its best mark in 15 years. The Aztecs have not won an ACCAC championship since 1980.
Cochise College and Phoenix College tied for the best conference record last season at 16-6.
“It is all about execution this season,” assistant coach Joe Hickle said.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
The Pima Community College volleyball team finished its season with an 8-20 overall record, 2-14 in ACCAC conference play.
The season ended with two road losses.
After losing in straight sets on the road at South Mountain Community College on Oct. 26, the Aztecs traveled to Mesa for their final match. They again dropped three straight sets, 25-18, 25-20, 25-13.
Pima took an early lead in the first set but was unable to keep momentum going for the second and third sets.
Freshman Mattea Reeb accumulated 20 assists and one ace, while freshman Trae Johnson posted six kills, 12 digs and two aces.
The team averaged 10 kills and assists per set during the season’s 28 matches and 103 sets.
Sophomore Aleksandra Palmer led the team in kills with 261 and points with 274. Freshman Anissa Conrad led in digs with 449. Johnson topped the team with hitting efficiency at .211.
Though it was a rough season, head coach Dan Bithell is excited and optimistic about next season.
“We’re looking toward next season to improving on what we need to,” Bithell said.
By FRANCISCO ZAPATA
A post-game altercation involving Pima Community College and Phoenix College players and fans controversially disqualified the Pima men’s soccer team from further postseason play.
The Aztecs won their third consecutive Division I, Region I title Oct. 29 after defeating Phoenix College 3-1.
The win qualified PCC for a four-team NJCAA West District Tournament in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Nov. 4. A win at that tournament would have guaranteed Pima a spot in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament, where they finished third last year.
Instead, the post-game brawl ended Pima’s season. It began when a Phoenix College athlete struck a Pima athlete on the Kino North Stadium soccer field.
Some Pima players stopped their post-game celebration and dashed to the aid of their teammate. Fans hopped the fence and ran onto the field.
According to video evidence presented by PCC Athletic Director Edgar Soto, one fan punched the Phoenix coach. Three Pima players were punched by opposing team members, but no Pima players threw punches.
The Phoenix College athletic director emailed Soto on Nov. 2, apologizing on behalf of the Phoenix players who initiated the fight. She also thanked Soto and his staff for de-escalating the situation.
During a Nov. 2 press conference, Soto applauded the men’s team for showing discipline.
“Our student-athletes did an outstanding job,” Soto said. “Not one of our student-athletes retaliated or threw a punch.”
After providing a statement to the NJCAA about the post-game altercation, Soto received an email on Nov. 1 from NJCAA Executive Director Mary Leicht.
“Due to the bench-clearing incident, all student-athletes and staff from both institutions will be charged with a violent ejection,” Leicht wrote. “In the case of PCC, a two-game suspension will result in an insufficient number of student-athletes to participate in the 2016 NJCAA Division I Men’s Soccer West District Playoff.”
Soto said the email left him in disbelief.
“It was a shocker to me when I got it that morning,” he said. “If anything, I was waiting to hear back and be commended and thanked for having our athletes behave in the proper way.”
A rule implemented by the NJCAA on April 1 sparked Pima’s elimination.
The general sportsmanship rule, Article 18, Section 2, A.1.c, says a violent ejection is warranted when “any bench personnel other than the head coach leave the bench area or designated warm-up area when a fight may break out or has broken out.”
Soto strongly disagreed with the NJCAA’s ruling.
“Where this rule is unclear and where we disagree with the NJCAA is how this rule was interpreted,” he said. “This was a post-game situation, there was a celebration, there was an incident that took place.”
Records from the head referee show four Phoenix student-athletes were given red cards during the game, three for fighting and one for verbal abuse of officials.
No Pima players were carded, but head coach David Cosgrove was red-carded early in the first half for arguing with officials. It was his third ejection in 19 years as Pima head coach.
“I was removed from the game, and rightfully so,” Cosgrove said.
At the Nov. 2 news conference, Cosgrove tried to gather himself as he stood before media outlets, parents and players.
“I’m really proud of my kids,” he said. “In the worst possible scenario on a soccer field, they handled themselves exactly how I wanted them to.”
Cosgrove took responsibility for his players’ actions, but felt they behaved properly.
“The instructions are very simple before the game,” he said. “Walk away, put your teammates before yourself and if somebody’s in trouble, go get them out of trouble.”
The NJCAA said running toward the brawl to restrain or protect teammates “escalated the incident, as evidenced in the game video.”
Pima’s elimination sent Yavapai College to the West District Tournament. The Roughriders were eliminated in the first game, losing 3-1 to Trinidad State College.
Pima has appealed the NJCAA ruling, but a decision will come too late for this year’s team.
Sophomores lost an opportunity to compete for a national title and to play in front of university scouts.
However, a favorable appeal would remove returning freshmen from suspension for the first two games next season.
PCC finished the 2016 season with an 18-3-1 record and ranked No. 9 in the nation.
The team was also on a nine-game winning streak.
Pima advanced to the championship game by eliminating the Arizona Western College Matadors in a 2-1 home victory on Oct. 27.
That game was also action-packed, with aggressive play from both sides. Play was stopped numerous times and the referee disciplined players while trying to control the sidelines.
Visit aztecpressonline.com for detailed accounts of the games.
“I have tremendous pride in what we’ve accomplished,” Cosgrove said. “The kids were fantastic. I couldn’t be more proud.”
By MARIA ANGULO
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team lost 3-0 to No. 1 Paradise Valley Community College in the Region I, Division I championship final on Oct. 29.
The road loss marked the third straight year that Pima (16-6-1) reached the finals without advancing to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.
The Pumas set the tone early, scoring three goals before the eight-minute mark.
The Aztecs played defense for much of the first half, and were outshot 12-9. Sophomore goalkeeper Daniela Sanchez finished with nine saves.
Pima mounted more shots on goal in the second half, but never scored.
Paradise Valley swept Pima this season. The Aztecs lost 1-0 on the road in the first game of the season, and fell 3-2 at Kino North Stadium in September.
Pima advanced to the championship game by beating the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Coyotes 2-1 on the road in an Oct. 26 semifinal game.
The Aztecs were the first to score in the 28th minute with a goal by sophomore Destiny Jones. The Coyotes tied the game with a goal in the 35th minute.
The game went to overtime, and the winning goal came in the 102th minute by Pima freshman Alexis Hernandez after an assist from sophomore Maury Urcadez.
“We worked for it and it feels like a dream,” Hernandez said. “It was a perfect ball from Maury. They were getting tired at the end of the second half and we got more chances. We just kept pounding.”
Sanchez ended the game with nine saves.
Pima advanced to the playoff semifinals on Oct. 24 with a 1-0 quarterfinal win over Glendale Community College.
The Aztecs ended the regular season with a 14-1-5 record.
Five Aztecs were recognized when the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference released its All-ACCAC women’s soccer team.
Urcadez was named first-team All ACCAC/All Region. Hernandez, Jones and Sanchez were named to the second team. Sophomore Sonia Garcia was honorable mention.
Oct. 24: PCC 1, Glendale CC, 0
Despite an hour-long weather delay, the Aztecs beat the Glendale Gauchos 1-0
Both teams had aggressive starts but Pima controlled the game.
“I think we dominated our half of the field,” Jones said. “We didn’t have much activity on our side and that definitely helped.”
Jones scored in the 25th minute with an assist from Hernandez.
“It feels good,” Jones said. “Our team as a whole work well together and it was nice to put it away.”
During the regular season, the Aztecs beat Glendale 2-0 and tied them Oct. 13 in a scoreless game.
Head coach Kendra Veliz said the rain delay affected the team a bit, but the team got the win it needed.
“We are happy to move on and we are excited to play Chandler-Gilbert in the semis,” she said.
Oct. 20: Pima 5, AWC 1
The Aztec closed the regular season with authority, beating the Matadors of Arizona Western College 5-1 at home.
After the Matadors scored first in the 35th minute, the Aztecs tied the game with a goal by Hernandez.
Pima dominated in the second half, scoring four times.
Jones scored with a penalty kick in the 54th minute and then again in the 75th minute off an assist from Urcadez.
Sophomore Shania Pablo scored in the 78th minute and freshman Nereida Sanchez scored the final goal in the 81st minute.
Sanchez ended the game with seven saves.
Before the game, sophomore players Sanchez, Jones, Pablo, Urcadez, Maria Delgadillo, Alexis Aguirre and Sonia Garcia were honored.
The Aztecs also celebrated the 20th year of the women’s soccer program with alumni from 1996 and 1997 in attendance. They included Amber Saarinen, Paige Watson, Christina Arredondo, April Valenzuela, Colleen Nagore and Lia Pierse.
Former assistant coaches Monique Vallery and Cynthia Saldamando were also present, as was former trainer Ben Carbajal.
This game marked the 200th win for head coach Kendra Veliz.
“What a great way for all of us to end the regular season, on our home field and with women who started the program in the stands,” Veliz said. “I’m happy the sophomores got this win on their day. I truly believe they deserved to have this moment.”
Oct. 18: PCC 1, Mesa CC 0
PCC beat Mesa Community College 1-0 in a home game at Kino North Stadium.
Freshman Daelyn Mayer scored in the 77th minute, off a corner kick from Urcadez. Pima outshot Mesa 9-5.
The Aztec swept the Thunderbirds this season, winning their previous game 4-1.
Oct. 13: PCC 0, Glendale CC 0
Pima traveled to Glendale Community College and ended with its first tie of the season. The Aztecs outshot the Gauchos 6-3 but neither team scored.
Earlier in the season, PCC beat Glendale by a 2-0 margin.
By CASEY MUSE JR
The Pima Community College men’s and women’s cross country teams closed out the regular season on Oct. 14 at the Mount San Antonio College Invitational in Walnut, California.
The Aztec women finished eighth out of 17 teams in a 3-mile race with a team score of 239 points.
Sophomore Samantha Felzien earned the best finish of any Aztec, finishing in fourth place out of 126 runners with a time of 18 minutes, 37.50 seconds.
Her performance set a school record.
Freshman Alondra Carrasco earned the next best finish for the women at 54th place and a time of 21:22.4.
Fellow freshmen Arianna Roche and Monique Ochoa finished 61st and 70th.
On the men’s side, the No. 19 Aztecs finished the 4-mile race in seventh place out of 17 teams with a team score of 191 points.
Sophomore David Hernandez earned medalist honors and the best finish for the Aztec men at sixth place out of 154 runners. His time was 21:17.3.
Freshman Alonso Sodari finished in 43rd place with a time of 22:37.3. Sophomore Armando Antonio Jr. placed 49th with a time of 22:45.1.
The Region I championships take place Oct. 29 at Glen Lakes Golf Course in Glendale, Arizona. The women’s race will begin at 9 a.m. and the men’s race starts at 9:45 a.m.
The NJCAA national championships will be held in El Dorado, Kansas, on Nov. 12.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
The Pima Community College volleyball team is gaining momentum, taking second place at a recent tournament in San Diego, California.
The team also has an injured player. Sophomore Victoria Davis has a stress fracture on her left tibia bone and will be unable to play until she receives medical clearance.
Sept. 14: PCC 2, Chandler-Gilbert CC 3
Pima clashed with Chandler-Gilbert Community College in a conference match on the road, losing 2-3.
The Aztecs took an early 2-1 lead but ultimately fell in five sets, 25-16, 19-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-11.
Sophomore Aubrey Lomeli led Pima in kills at 16, while freshman setter Hannah Gerard topped the team in assists with 32.
Sept. 16: PCC 3, South Mountain CC 0
The Aztecs pulled of a 3-0 upset when they hosted No. 12 South Mountain Community College.
After falling behind in three straight sets, the Aztecs rallied to win 26-24, 25-22, 25-20.
Head coach Dan Bithell called the victory an exciting win.
“We were finally able to put in all of our efforts in the right direction and have it pay off for us,” he said. “It’s great to get a win at home against a good team.”
Freshman libero Anissa Conrad had a team-high 18 digs for the match.
“I thought we really worked well together and we flowed really well,” Conrad said. “We communicated with each other at all times, which helps. And we stood together, and stood strong for each other.”
Sept. 21: PCC 0, Arizona Western College 3
In their second home game in a row, the Aztecs battled Arizona Western College and lost in three straight sets, 25-18, 25-19, 25-10.
Pima trailed during each set and never found an opening to get out in front on the scoreboard against the Matadors.
Sophomore Aleksandra Palmer posted 10 kills and Conrad lead the team with 15 digs.
“We’re a really talented team,” Palmer said. “We’ll have a really good practice, have a lot of high intensity. But coming into the game we lose that intensity and sometimes we’ll shut down pretty early.”
Palmer said the team has a long way to go, but will eventually reach its goals.
“I have a lot of confidence in our team’s ability,” she said.
Sept. 23 PCC 3, Southwestern College 2
The team traveled to Chula Vista, California, to battle Southwestern College and won in a five-set match, 24-26, 25-22, 25-18, 14-25, 15-12.
Palmer finished the match with 14 kills and nine digs. Gerard amassed 27 assists, while both Gerard and Conrad served five aces each.
Sept. 24: PCC places second at San Diego Tournament
The team continued to the San Diego Tournament and received the No. 1 seed after sweeping pool play.
The Aztecs beat Chaffey College in four sets, beat Cuyamaca College in three straight sets and beat host San Diego City College in a five-set tie breaker.
During a re-match against City College in the tournament final, Pima lost the match 25-17.
Palmer and Conrad were selected for the all All-Tournament Team.
Sept. 28: PCC 1, Mesa Community College 3
Back at home; the Aztecs went up against No. 17 Mesa Community College and lost in four sets, 25-16, 25-22, 20-25, 25,15.
Palmer finished the match out with 12 kills and 13 digs, while Gerard ended with 19 assists and 17 digs.
By CASEY MUSE JR
The Pima Community College football team hopes to build on a successful 2015 season despite facing a tough conference schedule for 2016.
The Aztecs committed five turnovers and were held scoreless Sept. 10 in a 20-0 loss to No. 5 Arizona Western College in Yuma.
AWC set the tone with a first-quarter interception of a tipped pass by freshman quarterback Justin Martin. The Matadors then blocked both a field goal and a punt attempt before scoring their first touchdown of the night.
The Aztecs finished the first half with 98 yards of total offense. They attempted to rally in the second half and had a chance to score in the fourth quarter but turned the ball over on downs.
Pima started the season by defeating Air Force Prep Academy 42-24 on Sept. 2 in Colorado Springs.
The game was a dogfight in the first half, with the Aztecs only able to mount a one-touchdown lead at the break.
In the second half, Martin helped the Aztecs outscore their opponent 21-10. Martin totaled 400 yards and six touchdowns, throwing for five touchdowns and running for one.
He was named WSFL/ACCAC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 7.
Last year, the Aztecs boasted a 4-1 home record and were 7-4 overall. They finished as runners-up in the Western States Football League, falling in the championship game to Snow College of Utah.
PCC ranked 13th in the nation in scoring with 407 total points and 15th in total offense at 4,376 total yards. The team was also 12th in first downs per game at 21.6.
Head coach Jim Monaco returns to lead the team in 2016. Pima entered the season unranked but was the fifth and final team to receive votes and consideration for the top 20 NJCAA poll.
Sophomore running back Sirgeo Hoffman will play a big role on offense, jumping from productive backup to full-time starter. Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Cotton will also be asked to step up.
The Aztecs return one of the most intriguing defenses in the conference. Last year, they were eighth in the nation with 954 total tackles, second in the nation in fumble recoveries at 16 and seventh in the nation in defensive touchdowns with five.
“Our goal on defense this season is to get the ball back to the offense and, more specifically, stop the run,” defensive coordinator Pat Ryden said. “Our long-term goal is to win our conference and play in a bowl game.”
Look for sophomore linebacker Kana’l Picanco to be thrust into the limelight. Sophomore cornerback Paul Davis will anchor a secondary unit that plans to cause problems for opposing quarterbacks.
Ryden also offered “welcome back” to sophomore linebacker Tyson Otuafi, who is returning to the team from a two-year church mission.
“We just need to make sure that we are tough and physical in all aspects on our side of the ball,” Ryden said.
Sept. 17: Scottsdale CC, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8: Eastern Arizona College, Kino North Stadium, 7 p.m.
By STEVEN FOWLER
The Pima Community College baseball team (30-26, 17-23 in ACCAC) saw its regular season come to a close on April 30 after a doubleheader series split against Chandler-Gilbert Community College at the West Campus.
Despite finishing above .500, it was a rough season for the Aztecs as they were unable to win doubleheaders.
In the first game, the Aztecs’ bats were inconsistent despite scoring three runs. Chandler-Gilbert capitalized early by scoring three runs in the first and third inning and one in the sixth.
PCC broke the shutout in the sixth when sophomore Hunter Green, who went 2-for-3, hit an RBI double. Freshman Manny Ramirez followed Green with another RBI double to score Green.
Freshman Andres Hackman went two and two-thirds allowing six runs.
In the second game against the Coyotes, Pima’s bats erupted in a 13-5 victory despite trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the sixth. Green, who anchored the offense in the first game, and sophomore Francisco Rodriguez hit back-to-back RBI singles. Fellow sophomore David Oropeza hit an RBI single making it a 7-4 game. PCC scored nine runs in the next two innings to seal the victory.
In a doubleheader against Glendale Community College on April 26, the Aztecs were swept at the West Campus. In the first game, Glendale mercy-ruled Pima 13-2 in five innings as they were held to two runs on seven hits. Sophomore Ivan Estrella and Green each went 2-for-3.
In the second game, the Aztecs and Gauchos fought back-and-forth into extra innings. Sophomore Xander Carrilo blew the tied-game in the 12th and Pima failed to score in the bottom half of the inning and lost 9-8. Felix led the team with five hits in six at-bats.
On April 23, Pima hosted a doubleheader matchup against Phoenix College at the West Campus. In game one, the Aztecs surrendered three runs in the top of the seventh as Carrillo gave up a game-tying two-run shot to even things up at three apiece. Fellow freshman Jake Roberson blew the lead as he surrendered an RBI walk giving Phoenix a 4-3 lead, the final score.
The second game, a win for the Aztecs, didn’t come easy in a high scoring affair. Down 10-8 in the bottom of the ninth, Estrella began the PCC’s rally with a leadoff single. With a hit by Sophomore Ryan Ramsower and a later error, the game was tied at 10. Freshman Oscar Larranaga was the hero of the game as he hit a sac-fly to deep-right field that scored freshman Max Whitehead to win the game 11-10.
Freshman Kristian Samorano picked up his second win in relief as he pitched the ninth inning with one strikeout and one walk. Freshman starter Miguel Figueroa pitched five and two-third innings giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and four walks.
As the season came to an end, Pima will need to go to the drawing board and find the best ball players that can win games.