ECC men’s soccer team ranked, undefeated ahead of Cerritos College matchup

El+Camino+College+Warriors+midfielder+Melvyn+Perez-Cortez+takes+a+shot+at+the+goal+during+the+second+half+of+the+game+against+Norco+College+on+Tuesday%2C+Sep+10.+Perez-Cortez+has+four+goals+and+one+assist+on+the+season+for+the+Warriors.+Jaime+Solis%2FThe+Union
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ECC men’s soccer team ranked, undefeated ahead of Cerritos College matchup

El Camino College Warriors midfielder Melvyn Perez-Cortez takes a shot at the goal during the second half of the game against Norco College on Tuesday, Sep 10. Perez-Cortez has four goals and one assist on the season for the Warriors. Jaime Solis/The Union

El Camino College Warriors midfielder Melvyn Perez-Cortez takes a shot at the goal during the second half of the game against Norco College on Tuesday, Sep 10. Perez-Cortez has four goals and one assist on the season for the Warriors. Jaime Solis/The Union

El Camino College Warriors midfielder Melvyn Perez-Cortez takes a shot at the goal during the second half of the game against Norco College on Tuesday, Sep 10. Perez-Cortez has four goals and one assist on the season for the Warriors. Jaime Solis/The Union

El Camino College Warriors midfielder Melvyn Perez-Cortez takes a shot at the goal during the second half of the game against Norco College on Tuesday, Sep 10. Perez-Cortez has four goals and one assist on the season for the Warriors. Jaime Solis/The Union

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The El Camino College men’s soccer team was ranked No. 7 in the nation among Division-III schools for the second straight week, according to the latest rankings released Tuesday, Oct. 8.

Since coming into the season unranked, the ECC Warriors joined Mt. San Antonio College and Cerritos College as the only South Coast Conference teams to make the rankings.

“I think it’s a cool thing to embrace,” Warriors men’s soccer head coach Michael Jacobson said. “For, I don’t know how long it’s been, the program had not been in the national rankings, and now we’re in the top 10.”

The Warriors players are enjoying the fact the team is ranked, and believes they’re doing a good job of playing under those circumstances as well, Jacobson said.

“The coaching staff mentions it, but we don’t emphasize it because it’s really [just about] continuing to rack up as many wins as we possibly can,” Jacobson said.

National Poll 6

The National Junior College Athletic Association D-III men's soccer rankings places El Camino College at No. 7 for the second straight week. The Warriors came into the season unranked after a not making the playoffs last year. Devyn Smith/The Union

After defeating Los Angeles Harbor College in their first conference game of the season, the Warriors will host the defending state champions Cerritos College for the first time this season in a showcase of undefeated teams on Friday, Oct. 11, at 4 p.m.

“This is the kind of game that you’re gonna have a ton of views, a ton of college coaches, a ton of eyes, a ton of national ranking implication,” Falcons men’s soccer head coach Benny Artiaga said. “You name it; it could all be at stake.”

The Falcons (10-0-1), started the season ranked No. 1 in both preseason but have since fallen to No. 4.

“For the first four games, even though they were all top notch teams, we were just having a lot of difficulty scoring,” Artiaga said. “At the end of the day, like I’ve always told my guys, none of these polls matter. They’re about as irrelevant to me as yesterday’s practice.”

The Warriors entered the season coming off a winning record, improving from 2017 when they finished with six wins and nine loses but have already racked up a winning record this year.

“We’re just trying to stay focused and trying to win,” Warriors midfielder Armando Alonzo said. “We don’t want to mess that up because we want to keep winning.”

Meanwhile, the Falcons team is undefeated in their last 35 games, spanning over these last two seasons, with 10 returning players from last year’s championship team.

IMG_0688 Jaime Solis.JPG

El camino College Warriors midfielder Armando Alonzo leaps to challenge Norco College forward Gustavo Aguilera for the ball during the second half of the game on Tuesday, Sep 10. The Warriors have already surpassed last year's win total. Jaime Solis/The Union

“You already have half a group that gets it and understands what it takes,” Artiaga said. “It’s so much easier to get the other half to buy in.”

Artiaga said he gives credit to Jacobson for the way the Warriors team has improved this season.

“It’s been a while since El Camino’s had a game this big,” Artiaga said.

Artiaga said he is excited for the opportunity to showcase what the Falcons have been working hard to achieve.

“You wish both teams could win and continue their success but that’s not how sports work,” Artiaga said. “One team will, more likely or not, come out victorious, and each coach is hoping that it’s his team on that day that

Coming into this match, Alonzo said he is focusing on the task at hand.

“I just try to remain focused,” Alonzo said. “Trying to get the win. Trying to keep making history as El Camino’s men’s soccer team.”

Artiaga said he is excited for the opportunity to showcase what the Falcons have been working hard to achieve.

“You wish both teams could win and continue their success but that’s not how sports work,” Artiaga said. “One team will, more likely or not, come out victorious, and each coach is hoping that it’s his team on that day that either got the bounces, or played a little bit better than the other team.”

Alonzo said that the Warriors are focused on this match and are trying to keep the winning mentality going.

IMG_0431 Jaime Solis.JPG

The El Camino Warriors soccer team huddles before the game against the Norco College Mustangs on Tuesday, Sep 10. The team has 21 goals in nine games this season. Jaime Solis/The Union.

“We’re excited for what [the Falcons are] going to bring to us, because we’re going to have a home game. It’s going to be home field [advantage],” Alonzo said.

“[Cerritos is] one of the best teams in the nation and they’re ranked higher than us,” Alonzo said. “We’re ready for that and we’re excited to play.”

The Warriors won their last league title in 1992, their fourth overall and tied with Cerritos College.

For the latest National Junior College Athletic Association DIII men’s soccer poll, click here.

For the the current California Community College Athletic Association standings, click here here.

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