YUMA, Ariz. – Yerry Mendez, Steven Salas and Alex Avila formed a strong backbone up and down the Arizona Western College men’s soccer team throughout the year. The three players played multiple positions and helped lead the Mats to their 11th straight playoff appearance. Mendez was named to the All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and Region I First Teams, while Salas earned a spot on the ACCAC and Region I Second Teams. Alex Avila was an ACCAC Honorable Mention.
Mendez was a dynamic, electrifying playmaker all season that injected a spark of creativity and danger whenever he was on the field. The freshman led AWC (and was third in the conference) with 13 goals and added three assists. He almost single-handedly led AWC back from a 3-0 halftime deficit against Yavapai on September 18 by scoring a hat trick after halftime. His final goal proved to be the game winner when put the Mats ahead 4-3 with a little more than 10 minutes left.
Salas provided a steady, calming presence throughout the midfield. Whether on the attack or on defense, head coach Kenny Dale could count on Salas to make the right read and pass or win a tackle and take the ball back for AWC. He was the only player to start in all 20 regular season matches, and he had four goals and three assists.
Alex Avila played both up top and in the midfield for AWC, and the sophomore did a little bit of everything in his role. He had five goals, including the game-tying goal in the comeback win over Yavapai, to go with two assists. Plus, Avila helped apply high pressure up top and tracked back to win the ball if AWC turned it over.
AWC (13-5-1 overall, 13-5-1 ACCAC) clinched the third seed in the Region I Playoffs on the final day of the regular season and plays tonight at 6:00 p.m. against Chandler-Gilbert. No passes will be accepted for the event, and tickets are $5.
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.