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Postseason is the goal this year

By Javier Cabrera / Editor in Chief

Mid-air collision (Jacob Willson / Editor’s Assistant)

By Javier Cabrera / Editor in Chief

In the six preseason matches that the Riverside City College men’s soccer team has played, the team has several concerns heading into the conference matches: finishing plays and scoring more.

As the first Orange Empire Conference match against Irvine Valley College is around the corner, the Tigers want to make sure they are ready to compete for a playoff berth.

Last season Riverside finished fourth in its conference with a 6-7-5 overall record and 4-4-4 conference record.  

The Tigers have not made the playoffs in two seasons since 2008, when they were eliminated by the then would be champions, Cerritos College, in the second round of the Southern California regional.

In the first six preseason matches this year, RCC went 1-2-2 and scored seven goals while giving up seven goals. The Tigers were also shut out in two of the matches.

RCC opened the preseason with a win against San Diego Mesa, then lost two matches by one goal to Southwestern College and Rio Hondo College and tied twice with Palomar College and Cuyamaca College.

Riverside ended the preseason with a 4-0 loss to Chaffey College on Sept. 20.

With a roster of 30 men, the test for the team and coach Francisco Melgarejo is to make sure they come together as a unit by the time they begin facing teams from their conference.

“I think everything (is what) we need to work on,” said Jose Cosajay, forward for RCC. “Every game we have our mistakes (and) we need to work on: controlling the ball, shooting the ball, and most importantly scoring.”

“We are just trying to get better at scoring (so we can) win some games,” he said.

Fernando Corona, forward for RCC, thinks the nervousness and having new teammates on the squad is one reason why the team is having its struggles.

“We are starting to get to know each other,” he said. “We play each other (so that we) know what each other’s style of play is.”

Cosajay leads the team in goals with three thus far in the season and he has high hopes in leading his team pass the power house teams in the conference.

“We need to be at our top level,” Cosajay said. “We are a good conference (team to compete) with Santa Ana and Irvine Valley, who are some of the top (college soccer programs) we play.”

“We are capable of beating them so we just need to play our best, and we will come out with some wins,” he said.

Javier Prieto, defender for RCC, believes the team is capable of correcting its early mistakes and competing alongside the best teams in the conference.

“We just (need) to put it together because lately we have been finishing, but I think we have a good team,” he said.

With the leadership of the coaches, the team is on the same page with where they want to achieve this fall.

“Make it to playoffs,” said Cosajay.

“It has been a long time since RCC soccer has been to the playoffs,” he said. “Our goal is make the playoffs and go far into the playoffs,” he said.

The Tigers have a tough start in their conference schedule as they face Irvine Valley College and Santa Ana in two of their first three matches.

Both opponents finished first and second in the conference last season.

The test begins for the Tigers on Sept. 27 against Irvine Valley College at the Norco campus at 3 p.m.

RCC will learn if its early struggles have improved to allow them to have a shot at making the postseason this year.

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