By Thomas Jenkins
On Friday, September 1, AVC warms up to defend their home against San Bernardino Valley College. As the spectators file into the stands and take their seats, the men's soccer team exits out of their tunnel and all eleven starters from both teams have their names called out to line up on the center of the field. Once the teams and referees take their place, the game kicks off at 6:32 p.m. Shortly after kickoff in the second minute, SBVC crosses the ball from the far corner and finishes into the bottom right to be in the lead 1-0. On a breakaway in the twenty-third minute, Chisom Ene has a chance to answer SBVC’s previous goal. In a 1v1 with the goalie, Chisom Ene attempts to even out the scoreboard but gets rejected by SBVC with an amazing stretching save in the bottom right of the goal. AVC gets threatened by a powerful shot from SBVC to the bottom left of the goal in the thirty-sixth minute which is saved by the goalie. Before the first half comes to a close, AVC receives a penalty. Alex Araiza steps up to the penalty mark and, in the fortieth minute, takes a beautiful shot to the right, faking out the goalie and tying up the game 1-1.
After AVC’s rough first half, they come into the second ready to take on SBVC. Although full of energy, tensions rise as each team fights to come out on top. In the seventy-eighth minute, AVC almost meets defeat when SBVC receives a foul on the top of the eighteen-yard box. SBVC curves around AVC’s defensive wall but is swatted away by the goalie. In quick succession, SBVS returns with a power shot to the right of the goal but is yet again denied by the keeper, saving AVC from defeat. In a last-stage effort in the ninetieth minute to save AVC, a floating cross comes into SBVC’s goal area. Chisom Ene rapidly jumps up to head the ball in for the winning goal but misses by only two feet above the crossbar. Sighs of disappointment are heard throughout the stadium as the final whistle is blown to end the game with a score of 1-1.
In a post-interview with Charles Gordan, AVC’s head coach, I asked, “What was your reaction after conceding the first goal?” Gordon had answered sincerely expressing, “Disappointed. We started slow and we made some simple mistakes, however I was confident that the boys would be able to fix it.” Although AVC was able to correct their mistakes by tying up the game, I wanted to dig deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of the team. I then probed Gordan on these details by questioning, “What do you feel AVC did very well and what do you believe you can do better for the next game?” Gordon then gave me a perception of his ideas of the team and described, “I think we did a great job in the first half of combining and building play up as well as threatening space and being able to break lines. I think the big thing that we are going to focus in on is just consistency throughout the entire second half because the second half became a little bit more direct than we would have liked to see.” Gordon’s explanation was very insightful and honest which shows his perseverance as a coach.
If you would like to experience AVC’s soccer teams, visit AVC’s athletic page for more information on their schedules. All AVC students are allowed free entry into AVC home soccer games.