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Roughrider Soccer Beats Phoenix College, Heads to Region Final
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26 October 2017
 
The Roughriders soccer team celebrates after scoring the second goal of the night in the semi-final game against Phoenix College on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham
After Three Straight Seasons of Semi-Final Losses to Phoenix College, The Roughriders Soccer Team Takes Down Phoenix College to Advance

PRESCOTT- The Yavapai College Roughriders soccer team has been in this position before, battling Phoenix College at Ken Lindley Field with a spot in the region finals on-the-line. In the past three seasons, it was Phoenix College who was victorious. On Wednesday, October 26th, the Roughriders flipped the script in a shutout of Phoenix College 3-0 and earned a ticket to the region championship game against Pima Community College.

“I’m glad that I can be a part of the team that finally knocked Phoenix out,” Roughriders freshman goalkeeper Tyler Trump said. “ I know the coaches really wanted it and the players did (too).”

The Roughriders grabbed momentum quickly with a goal from sophomore attacker David Gandara, assisted by Jose Perez Flores, in the 13th minute.

“Coming into this game it was definitely nerve-racking, especially with the pressure that was on us,” Gandara said. “That first goal felt great and just from there we kept going and we didn’t give up.”

The quick start was important for Yavapai College, as it put Phoenix College on their heels early.

“That first goal made all the difference,” Roughrider head coach Michael Pantalione said. “That was the key, getting off to a quick start and scoring that goal.”

The two teams would be deadlocked for the rest of the half.

“We told the players at halftime the second goal will come naturally, we don’t need to force it,” Pantalione said. “We got to preserve the one-goal lead and things would open up as time went on.”

Coming out of the break, Phoenix College controlled the ball on the Yavapai side of the field. However, Phoenix College couldn’t get the ball past Trump. Meanwhile, the Roughriders did end up getting that second goal on an unassisted score from John Scearce in the 72nd minute.

“When they (Phoenix College) came out, they were possessing the ball well and we couldn’t seem to find the forward and hold the ball up,” Trump said. “Eventually, we got some momentum back and got a goal and then after that…it was like we kind of knew (we won).”

Yavapai College added a third score with three minutes remaining in the game on a goal from Angel Lujan, assisted by Scearce.

“The Roughrider soccer player plays with a lot of heart and desire and a lot of pride,” Pantalione said. “It was evident tonight.”

The game was heated between both sides as Phoenix College racked up four yellow cards and one red card, while the Roughriders were handed two yellow cards.

“It was tough getting hit and not retailing, but we talked about it as a unit and we’re like we have to keep our head cool,” Gandara said. “We’re out here to play soccer and nothing else and that was our mindset.”

The Roughriders now head to Tucson for a matchup against Pima Community College on Saturday, October 28th, at 6:00 pm for a chance at a district championship. The winner advances to the NJCAA West District Playoffs.