Originally Published: October 18, 2016 11:35 p.m.
YUMA — An Arizona Conference regular-season title is now within the Yavapai College men’s soccer team’s grasp after the Roughriders knocked off previously unbeaten Arizona Western on Tuesday night, Oct. 18.
National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I No. 7-ranked Yavapai defeated the No. 6 Matadors, 2-1, to take over sole possession of first place in the conference.
The Roughriders (17-2-0 overall record, 16-2-0 conference; 48 points) lead the league with two matches left in the regular campaign. Arizona Western (14-1-3; 45 points) is in third place behind second-place Pima (15-3-1; 46 points), 3-1 winners over Mesa on Tuesday. For Yavapai, it was the program’s 50th all-time victory over the Matadors, as the Roughriders now own a 50-5-2 record.
If Yavapai defeats Scottsdale Community College at Mountain Valley Park Amphitheater in Prescott Valley Thursday, Oct. 20, the Roughriders will claim the league crown.
Yavapai owns the tiebreaker with Western, which visits Pima on Thursday. Even if the Roughriders were then to lose their season finale to the Matadors on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Ken Lindley Field in Prescott, they would still clinch the regular-season title.
That’s important because Yavapai would receive an opening-round bye into the NJCAA Region I, Division I playoffs next Tuesday, Oct. 25, and host a semifinal (Oct. 27) and the final (Oct. 29), if the Roughriders advance that far.
On Tuesday, Yavapai was in a scoreless tie with Western at halftime before Western grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute on an unassisted goal from Marlon Atondo. However, two minutes later, Yavapai’s Juan Ramirez booted in the equalizer on a double assist from John Scearce and Isaac Arellano.
Then, still tied at 1-1 in the 58th minute, David Gandara scored what proved to be the game-winner on a helper from Ziyad Fares for the 2-1 YC lead that stood.
In goal, Yavapai’s Justin Motzkus went all 90 minutes between the posts, tallying two saves, for the win. Western’s Dusan Djordjev also logged 90 minutes with two saves.
For the match, Yavapai out-shot Western, 13-8. Both teams had three corner kicks apiece.
The Roughriders’ final two regular-season matches on Thursday and Saturday will kick off at 6 p.m.
Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2039, or 928-642-7865.