YUMA, Ariz. – For the first time this season, the Arizona Western College men’s soccer team was shut out. The Mats (14-6-1 overall) created half a dozen great goal-scoring chances, but none went in. Chandler-Gilbert Community College (11-9-1 overall) played with tempo and pressure in the first half and scored the only goal of the match to beat AWC 1-0.
CGCC started strong and boomed several shots on target early, but AWC’s Heriberto Ruiz was equal to the task. He made multiple diving stops to keep the game scoreless and had eight saves on nine shots on goal on the night.
In the 31st minute, Chandler-Gilbert counterattacked after AWC lost the ball near midfield. Raphaello Colasito chipped the ball forward toward the 18-yard box, but it was a perfectly weighted pass that allowed Angel Hernandez to slip behind the defense. Hernandez reached it and chipped it into the goal just before Ruiz could grab it.
The Matador offense was a little up and down in the first half. The offense found some success down the right side, and Jamison Ingram played a beautiful ball across the six-yard box, but it bounced through everyone with less than 15 minutes to play in the half.
After halftime, Arizona Western came out with more fire and started to press the attack. The offense continued to work down the sides of the field, and Jorge Cayo Zelada played dangerous balls into the box over and over, but each time the connection barely missed.
Halfway through the second half, AWC played a ball up the middle, and Yerry Mendez slipped between the two center backs. His shot trickled barely wide of the right post.
As time ticked down, AWC kept applying pressure. With 10 seconds left, the Mats had one last crack at it after Chandler-Gilbert was whistled for a foul. Steven Salas launched a ball into the box, but it pinballed into the hands of CGCC’s goalkeeper Justin Zimmerman to end the match.
AWC had two shots on goal, and Chandler-Gilbert had nine.
The Mats close the season with their 11th straight playoff appearance under head coach Kenny Dale. The team has won at least 10 matches in each of those 11 seasons.
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.