Successful Season For The Dons Ends After Brief Playoff Appearance

The mens soccer team prays for victory against the Cypress Chargers. / Jessmarie Flores / el Don

The Santa Ana College Men’s Soccer team ended their 2017 season as they were defeated by the Compton College Tartars Saturday 1-0, in the first round of the California Community College Athletic Association Southern Regionals.

Santa Ana ended their regular season in third place, with a record of 7-2-5 in the Orange Empire Conference. Santa Ana secured the final playoff spot, edging out Orange Coast College by two games.

The Dons finished the season with an overall record of 10-4-6. The Irvine Valley College Lasers and the Golden West College Rustlers both placed ahead of the Dons, with the Rustlers winning the conference title with a record of 11-2-1.

The Dons secured six spots on the All-Orange Empire Conference teams including Matheus Cuhna the Co-Most Valuable Player.

Cuhna was able to earn his Co-MVP honor as he scored a total of five goals and dished out five assists in conference play. This is the second straight year in a row that the Dons have had a conference MVP.

Sophomores Joseph Vasquez, Noe Alvizo-Chavez and Daniel Castro were all named to the conference’s first-team, while Freshman defender Joshua Castellon and Paulo Gama were given second-team honors.

Joshua Castellon led the team in scoring with nine goals and ranked in the top five scoring leaders in the OEC.

“I couldn’t have done it without the Dons and as a first-year freshman it was a good opportunity to score goals and lead my team,” Castellon said. “For me being a defender, it’s harder to score, so I took every opportunity I had like it was my last.”

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Santa Ana made a total of 44 goals this season, putting them in a two-way tie with Golden West. They were 11 goals behind the Orange Coast College Pirates, the goal leaders for the conference who totaled 55 goals this season.

Offensively, the Dons ranked fifth in shooting percentage at 21 percent, making 44 of 209 attempts.

Making plays that scored became the cornerstone for the Dons this season as they tallied a total of 30 assists, ranking them third in the OEC in that category. Freshman midfielder Christopher Lopez, sophomore midfielder Chavez, sophomore midfielder Cuhna, and sophomore defender Castro. Totaled six assists accounting for 24 of the 30 assists the Dons had this season.

“It felt really good to be one of the four team leaders in assists,” midfielder Lopez said. “I know I can even be better. I only look to improve as a player and make myself into an even greater playmaker to give my team more opportunities to score a goal.”

Penalties were an issue for the Dons ranking first in the OEC in red cards with five received and second overall in penalties. In games in which the Dons received a red card, they were 1-3-1.

When the Dons found an offensive groove this season, no opponent could contain it. The Dons stood undefeated in seven games in which they scored three or more goals. The Dons ranked second in the OEC in shutouts holding six teams scoreless this season. Santa Ana’s goalkeeping allowed 27 goals.