By: Eric Norris
Simpson Red Hawks vs. U.C. Merced Bobcats
Men’s college soccer is a combination of strategy, skill, and countless hours of practice, none of which were shown against UC Merced. The Simpson Red Hawks were coming off a 6-0 win against Sierra Nevada College 5 days prior. They only needed to beat the UC Merced Bobcats, then Embry Riddle after, in order to have a chance at the championship all in a six-day period. Their playoff venture would only last one night after a 1-0 loss to the Bobcats on Wednesday.
The two previous games before, the Bobcats outscored their opponents 21-,1 according to the Bobcats Athletic page. In the most recent matchup between the Red Hawks and Bobcats, Simpson beat the Bobcats for the first time ever in six years on October 31st.
Senior, forward, Joe Bell, commented, “We had to make sure we were ready for a physical game. I could feel that the team was excited and ready to play, we knew what we had to do.”
On Wednesday, the Red Hawks settled in with a new level of confidence. They played smart. The game was scoreless till the 45th minute, right before halftime when Bobcats player, Andres Lua, scored to lead 1-0.
Adjustments had to be made going into the second half. The Red Hawks played more aggressively. Both teams had multiple yellow cards and two red cards by the Bobcats. The Red Hawks had an opportunity to tie the game up when midfielder Diego Alvarez being fouled inside the box. A penalty kick goal would have tied the game. The sophomore felt the pressure because he missed the goal completely on the kick.
Senior, captain, and midfielder Ruben Barajas said, “Honestly I felt like I’ve said everything that I’ve needed to say that day. We had our chances, but they just weren’t going in.”
The season is over for the Red Hawks and here are the seniors that played their hearts out:
Louis Down, Joao Abussmra De Almeida, Ruben Barajas, Victor Alfonso, Philip Videsott, and Luiz Simoes.
Also, congrats to the head coach, Erly Cornejo, for leading the men’s team to a 10-7-1 season, conference record 6-2.