YUMA, Ariz. – Juan Arango powered the Arizona Western men’s soccer team on a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon in Yuma. The sophomore scored three goals for a hat trick, and he added an assist in a 6-0 win for the Mats over Paradise Valley. The loss snapped a two-game skid for the Mats before they enter the final week of the season.
Arango helped the Mats (12-3-3 overall, 12-3-3 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) get off to a quick start with a tap-in goal in the sixth minute. The ball was crossed in, and Genaro Vazquez headed towards the net, but Paradise Valley (3-15 overall, 3-15 ACCAC) goalkeeper Sergio Gonzales saved it. Arango gobbled up the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
The game started to get sloppy over the next 25 minutes, and Paradise Valley created chances. The Pumas actually outshot the Mats 5-3 in the first half, but Noe Galindo was equal to the challenge in goal and saved all five shots.
In the 32nd minute, George Sanchez eased home a cross for some breathing room. Jafet Sanchez arced the ball into the box, and Sanchez just had to redirect the ball in from 12 yards out. It was his eighth goal of the season.
After halftime, Arango struck again. Archie Gurrola broke free on the left side and tucked a pass to Arango at the 18. Arango beat one man and scored while being tugged from behind in the 58th minute for a 3-0 lead.
The Mats tacked on three more goals in the next 15 minutes. Vazquez picked up a breakaway goal off a nice pass from Arango in the 61st minute for his third goal this year. The two combined again for Arango’s third goal in the 63rd minute. Vazquez attacked and shot it, and the ball rebounded to Arango in the six-yard box. He took a touch and kicked it in for a 5-0 lead and his seventh goal this year.
Ezequiel Quijada closed out the scoring with a breakaway goal on the 70th minute. George Sanchez played a perfect pass forward to Quijada past the back line, and Quijada didn’t miss as he scored his 10th goal this year.
The Mats outshot Paradise Valley 12-5 and didn’t allow a shot on goal after halftime. AWC heads to Yavapai on Tuesday, October 17 to begin the final week of the regular season. The two teams are battling for playoff positioning, with the Mats one game behind Yavapai coming into the day.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.