Men’s soccer advance to Elite 8

City College men’s soccer team moved one step closer to making school history by defeating the Vaqueros from Santa Barbara 1-0 on Nov. 22 during round two of the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs.

The game was played at San Diego High School’s Balboa Stadium.

“It feels very good to still be playing soccer at this time of the season,” Head Coach Milton Hidalgo said. “We have been preparing for this atmosphere all season long.”

In what was a showdown of two of the top 5 teams in the state, Goalkeepers from both teams — Nick Ybarra for the Knights and Yonha Adrabi for the Vaqueros — put on a showcase with breathtaking saves. Both players were defensive game-changers for their teams.

Adrabi came into the game as the state’s best goalkeeper. Ybarra, however, has been more than consistent all season, and his dominant defensive presence helped the Knights advance once again.

“Soccer is a game where defense is mandatory,” Ybarra said. “The team that plays better defense from a team perspective usually wins.”

The game was scoreless at halftime, but like they have all year long, the Knights responded when it mattered most — at crunch time. Freshmen forward Jonathan Zurita, one of the players that has shined at crucial times in games, scored the lone goal 25 minutes into the second half.

“All season Jonathan has been clutch for us,” freshman forward Hector Munoz said. “That was an amazing shot he hit against an amazing goalkeeper.”

Zurita, the Knights’ second-leading scorer, has 22 points and 10 goals for the season.

In the final minutes of the game, fans in the stands chanted “Defense, defense, defense,” and the Knights appeared to be in total control after they were awarded a free kick due to a penalty. Freshmen forward Christian Renteria took a great shot on goal but was unsuccessful.

Immediately, the Vaqueros tried to advance the ball but were denied, and then the game was finished. The Knights had completed another chapter of their amazing season, with Hidalgo and his coaching staff taking the team another step closer to the state championship game.

The win earned the Knights a ranking of fourth in the California Community College Athletic Association’s Elite 8 tournament. A victory over number-one seed Mt. San Antonio on Nov. 27 would advance the Knights toward the state championship match.

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Men’s soccer advance to Elite 8