by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
Taft College has no easy task as the Cougar men's soccer team prepares for a major challenge in their final two Central Valley Conference matches.
Nobody knows that more than head coach Angelo Cutrona, who's taking a positive approach into the final two games.
"I'm really excited, and I think our players are too," he said. "I think it's a great way to finish the regular season and get ready for the playoffs. Both of these games will have a playoff feel to them no matter how they turn out. We feel very good about our chances."
The Cougars tuned up for trips to Fresno (2-2-0 CVC, 10-5-4 overall) on Friday and West Hills-Lemoore (2-2-0, 11-7-0) a week later as the regular season winds down and teams jockey for playoff spots.
Taft has won seven of its last eight games and tied the other, so Cutrona feels his team has some momentum.
"I think our team is peaking at the right time. I really like that we are playing two playoff type teams to finish. No matter what happens it's going to go down to that last game to decide who wins the conference."
The Cougars lead the CVC with a 3-1 record, and are 12-4-2 overall.
They tuned up for the final push by defeating College of the Sequoias 4-0 last Friday.
Danny Ortiz scored his team-leading eighth and ninth goals to lead the way.
Aldahir Perez scored the first goal of the match after taking a pass from Luis Martinez and Fabian Roman made it 2-0 with an assist from Axel Cruz before Ortiz finished off the Giants with back-to-back goals. Perez got his team-leading sixth assist on the first and Bryan Henriquez recorded the assist on the final score. It was his second assist of the season.
Goalkeeper Ricky Montoy recorded another shutout, his ninth of the season. He has 17 saves on the season and has allowed just eight goals.
In winning seven of their last eight matches the Cougars have six shutouts and have outscored their opponents 17-2.