COC Insider: Women’s soccer stays on a roll

College of the Canyons freshman forward Taylor Lopez jumps through the air in pursuit the ball during the first half of COC’s 1-0 victory over Antelope Valley College Tuesday. Photo courtesy Jesse Munoz/Taylor Lopez

The College of the Canyons women’s soccer team won its seventh straight game by way of a seventh straight shutout Tuesday, as the Cougars defeated visiting Antelope Valley College, 1-0.

No. 9 Canyons (12-3-1 overall, 6-0 in the Western State Conference, East Division) has posted a 23-0 goal differential during its streak to establish a nine-point cushion in its conference standings with just two regular-season games left on the schedule.

The Cougars are 8-1-1 over their last 10 games, with the team’s last loss coming at the hands of Santa Barbara City College back on Sept. 27. COC is also undefeated in its last 25 conference matches, dating back to the 2014 season.

Citrus (10-7, 3-2) and Bakersfield College (9-7-2, 3-3) are tied for second place with nine points apiece.

On Tuesday, freshman forward Taylor Lopez, who leads the team with five assists, provided all the offense COC needed with her goal in the 53rd minute. In somewhat of a role reversal, sophomore Amanda Balzer, who leads the team with seven goals, was credited with an assist on the play.

Canyons registered 34 shots on the day compared to just two from the Marauders. Nevertheless, COC goalkeeper Kianna Hemphill was credited with her conference-leading 12th win and eighth shutout of the season.

COC will next travel to face Victor Valley College at 2 p.m. Friday. A win by Canyons or a Citrus loss would give COC its sixth straight conference title, and its first WSC, East championship. Prior to this season the Cougars competed in the WSC, South Division.

Canyons will then close out the regular season the following week with a road game vs. Citrus on Nov. 8, and a non-conference matchup with Pierce College on Nov. 11.

Women’s soccer academic all-state team

Five members of the COC women’s soccer program have been named to the 2016 California Community College Athletic Association Women’s Soccer Academic All-State Team. The five honorees from Canyons are the most from any community college in the state.

A total of 37 players representing 18 schools were selected for inclusion on this year’s CCCAA Academic All-State Team. Honorees must have participated in at least one season of soccer and completed at least 24 semester units with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Awards are based on the 2015-16 academic year.

The group of honorees from COC includes:

• Jade Ane — liberal studies major

• Amanda Balzer —automotive technology major

• Hanna Halstead — business accounting major

• Kianna Hemphill — sociology major

• Isabella Hochner — American Sign Language major

Aside from being stars in the classroom, this group has also made significant contributions on the field. Balzer and Hochner were both All-Western State Conference first-team honorees in 2015. Meanwhile Halstead and Hemphill were both named All-WSC second team that same season, with Ane also providing a strong defensive presence on a team that won the 2015 WSC, South Division championship — the program’s fifth consecutive conference title.

“I am extremely proud of our Academic All-State Team members,” said COC coach Justin Lundin. “They have exhibited the drive and dedication needed to be successful both in the classroom and on the field, and are representative of what it means to be a College of the Canyons student-athlete.”

Men’s soccer

The COC men’s soccer team kept its postseason hopes alive with a 2-0 win over conference-leading Victor Valley College to pull within six points of the WSC, South Division’s top spot.

Canyons (7-10-2, 3-3-1) scored in the ninth minute when sophomore midfielder Aaron Winsick booted a rebound off the goalpost to the back of the net to break the scoreless tie. The goal was Winsick’s second of the season, with both scores coming over the last four games.

The Cougars seized the momentum created by the early goal and were able to build on their lead when midfielder Jaime Erazo scored his first goal of the season in the 30th minute of play. Freshman Arman Tagavi logged an assist on the play, and Canyons took a 2-0 lead into halftime.

COC goalkeeper Cristian Arriaga finished the contest with five saves, including four in the second half, to improve to 7-10-2 on the season. His 96 saves this season continue to lead the WSC, while his five shutouts place him in a tie for second.

Canyons has three regular season games remaining with a chance to climb the conference standings. The Cougars are currently tied for third place with Citrus (8-6-2, 3-3-1), trailing second place Glendale (8-6-4, 3-1-3) and Victor Valley (11-6-2, 5-1-1) in the top spot.

COC will next travel to Bakersfield College at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by a road matchup with Antelope Valley College on Nov. 8. The Cougars close out the regular season at home vs. Citrus on Nov. 11.

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