By Jorge Campos and Jaime Buenaventura
The Dons match its season goal total in the final non-OEC home game
A six-day delay caused by excessive heat wasn’t enough to help the visiting Palomar College Comets Tuesday in a 8-0 shutout loss to the Dons.
Makeup game day temperature was 84 degrees but the synthetic turf field pushed it to about 105 degrees.
The Sept. 17 match would have been played at about 120 degrees as record heat and humidity baked Southern California. The 94-degree heat forced officials to cancel the game. Synthetic turf adds about 20 degrees to the on-field temperature.
Four Comets starters were absent and Head Coach Carlos Hernandez was serving a four-game suspension in the blowout loss. Two red cards resulting in ejections left the undermanned team with nine players in the second half.
“I’m not going to make excuses. We had four players miss the bus,” Comets Assistant Coach David Whiddon said.
Palomar played defenseman Marco Gomez at goalkeeper most of the game, after subbing him in for the replacement, forward Eduardo Calleja, in the 10th minute.
Gomez couldn’t stop the Dons’ relentless attack as eight out of nine shots on goal hit the net.
“I have a goalie background since I played that position in high school. I thought I could come in and make a difference,” Gomez said.
Eight players scored for the Dons, matching its highest goal total in two years.
The Dons whipped Norco College 8-0 in 2012.
Santa Ana College ranks second in the Orange Empire Conference with 16 goals through six games.
Five different Dons made assists, led by forward Derian Lopez who had a pair, bringing the Dons’ total to 11, second in the OEC.
“We are working on getting better as we go, just getting better before conference play,” SAC Head Coach Jose Vasquez said.
Midfielder Uriel Rebollar scored the first goal in the 20th minute off a pass from forward Carlos Martinez, who leads the OEC with three assists.
The Comets mustered five shots, squeaking one on goal that was blocked by goalkeeper Dennis Hernandez, his only save opportunity.
“We played defense as a team. We didn’t get a lot of action but we can’t expect that all the time,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez is one of the top goalkeepers in the conference, ranking third with 25 saves. He is second with an .862 save percentage. His 0.73 goals against average places him second in the OEC.
“Our goalkeepers have been playing well, they have been solid for us in the back,” Vasquez said.
The Dons have surrendered only four goals on defense, and tallied three shutouts.
“Every time they get a shutout, it speaks highly of them,” Vasquez said.
The Dons begin OEC play Tuesday at Golden West and play the home opener Friday against Cypress. Both games begin at 3 p.m.
SAC has combined offense and defense to rank among the elite teams in the OEC