By Javier Cabrera / Sports Editor
By Javier Cabrera / Sports Editor
Editors Note- After the coaches from the southern regional gathered to rank and seed the south region brackets of the playoffs, the Riverside City College men’s soccer team did not make the cut to be in the playoffs this season.
The women’s soccer team did make the playoffs as the No. 10 seed.
Their first game will be at Santa Monica College on Nov. 21 in a first round game.
Combined from the men’s and women’s Orange Empire Conference, eight teams made the playoffs.
The last game of the season proved to be the most important game for the Riverside City College men’s soccer team, because it was win the game or season over.
Heading into the game in fifth place versus third place Orange Coast and the only chance of making the playoffs was in the hands of the rankings, so Riverside knew what had to be done.
While fourth place Fullerton finished up their season against an average Santiago Canyon team, Riverside couldn’t rely on other teams helping them.
Entering the last games of the Orange Empire Conference soccer season, Orange Coast sat in third place with 18 points as Fullerton was behind one point and Riverside behind two points.
The perfect situation could have not been any better as Riverside played one of the two teams that were ahead of them, but it didn’t matter if they won the conference game because making the playoffs is based on the state rankings.
Nov. 13 in Norco, the RCC men’s soccer team prepared to play what they hoped was not their last game of the season.
Each player on the team took a knee before the game and gathered their thoughts to reflect on what was in stakes.
Tight defense, acrobatic driving saves from the goalkeepers, and nail biting shots by both teams resulted in a 0-0 draw at halftime.
As the second half began, both teams were looking to find the first goal; Riverside found it first with Jimmy Martinez putting in the first goal in an tight played game.
A sight of relief for the Riverside side, with the Riverside supporters cheering loudly.
Well coach Francisco Melgarejo told the team do not let up on defense, since they were now up 1-0.
Following the goal, there was a panic moment for Riverside when Orange Coast had a breakaway with no one to beat but goalkeeper Rigoberto “Rigo” Ramirez, but Ramirez quickly came out to take away the ball.
“The very good chances that Rigo stopped was right after we scored our first goal,” coach Jose Angel Moreno said. “That put us in the game.”
Ramirez made a play that won the game for Riverside.
“Had those chances had gone in, it would have been a whole different game mentally,” Moreno said. “Had they tied the game with those chances they had after our goal, they would get back into the game but he kept us in.”
Coach Moreno was excited about the proformance from the goalkeepers, Ramirez and Alexander Perez, because it gave the rest of the team monivation.
“I think that made all the different to give the team the confidence they needed to keep pressuring and attacking the opponent,” Moreno said.
Martinez added two more goals to complete another “hat trick,” and Robert Tornel scored the fourth unanswered goal for Riverside to secure the playoff spot and win the game, 4-0.
“We played real good on defense and didn’t make no errors for the first time,” said Martinez.
“That is the big thing we have been working on and it showed today on the field that we been working hard and it’s paying off,” he said.
Martinez finished the sesaon with 36 goals and 16 assists.
“He is one of those natural born scorers, he is going to go on and do great things,” Moreno said. “We see a bright future for him.”