By Kevin Castaneda
By Kevin Castaneda
A soccer game ending in a tie could mean one of two things. That both teams fought so skillfully, that neither could capitalize with a goal; or that neither team had the ability to score.
But then there’s always the much over looked thought: the brutal grind of a hard season.
The expectations for a team full of players with no college experience, should never really be held that high.
You expect them to grow as players, and as teammates. Together they face the battle of losing and close games. As well as sharing in the glory of a well fought victory.
When you begin to get into the middle of the season you see many changes occur. The team actually becomes a team. But more importantly you see the wear and tear of a hard season. The grind of two games a week, and practice in between those days of battle.
Which could really explain what happened to RCC on Sept. 27, versus its opponent Irvine Valley College.
Before this game, RCC had yet to win a game, unlike its counterpart who was (4-2-1) in non-conference matches.
As the game started to take shape you noticed that neither team was going to give up much ground.
The closest RCC were able to get was in the 11th minute of the first half. An indirect kick was awarded to RCC in the IVC box. But the Tigers failed to take advantage as the ball was deflected off the wall of players in front of the net.
The same trend of play would follow through the whole first half. Neither team was giving much up on offense or defense. The game was a battle, and a hard grind for both sides.
Every kick was contested, referees were yelled at for bad calls, and body to body clashes were a must.
Nobody expected this hard fought game to change in the second half. IVC was not going to give, so neither was RCC.
The same match ups were challenged and abused in the second half. RCC had its chance to score in the first half, IVC had its chance in the second half.
In the 35th minute as LVC forwards approached goalie Pablo Isais’ net. They had an open view for a game winning goal. But the shot was kicked to-high, and rebounded off the cross bar. A definite close call for both sides.
In this match much of the credit had to go to RCC’s goalkeeper, Pablo Isais, who had a total of seven saves in the game, which really gave a boost to the RCC defense and offense.
To nobody’s surprise the game ended in a stalemate of 0-0.
After some postgame reflection, coach Francisco Melgarejo seemed impressed with the team’s effort.
“The guys have really been picking it up,” he said. “We played against a very good team. We were able to stay with them, and keep it an up and down game.”
Which were the exact words to not only describe a hard fought game. But it also described a season filled with good and bad times, ups and downs, loses, and now, a tie.
A delight for a coach looking for his team only to get better as the season grinds along.
When asked how his players were handling the grind of the season, he said, “The guys are handling it great. They aren’t 50/50 players anymore. They are playing like 70/80 players. Which means they are more complete, and they finish their plays better than they used to.”