Knights soccer finishes strong

Christopher Handloser

The City College soccer team went to the California Community College Athletic Association Regional Playoffs for the fourth year in a row after finishing in second place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference with a record of 10-5-5 (8-2-2 conference).

Ranked 14th in the state, the Knights traveled to play the Santa Ana Dons on Nov. 23, but the third-ranked Dons proved to be too much for City College, winning the elimination game 3-0.

Head Coach Milton Hildalgo has led the Knights to the postseason nine out of the last 10 seasons, and despite the early exit, he is happy with their performance this year.

“For us, we always tell the kids that we want to play good and we want to win, but we want to give a good effort,” expressed Hildago. “I told the kids, your know, I’m just proud of the way we turned the season around.”

The turnaround was impressive, as the Knights started the season 2-4-2 and dropped their first conference game to Southwestern before going unbeaten in the next 11 straight games.

Overcoming injuries that plagued the beginning of the season fueled the improvement, and Hildalgo gave credit to the sophomore leadership of the squad, which really put the team on their backs.

“About 70 per cent of the team was new so we put it on them to help,” stated Hildalgo. “Our captains really – Jimmy Crane and Martin Aguilar – they were doing a great job of keeping it together. Without them, it doesn’t happen.”

Freshman attacking center mid, Oscar Ortega, competed hard this season, finishing fourth in the conference with nine goals. He is undoubtedly in the plans for next season.

“He scored the significant goals,” Hildalgo said with a smile. “He was a difference maker in the attack.”