With a dominant defense, the Dons are leading the Orange Empire Conference undefeated in their first season back on the field since 2019.
“Our backline has put in miles defending, especially Antonio Wall, but that backline has been playing a lot of minutes,” head coach Jose Vazquez said.
It’s an impressive return for the team consisting mostly of freshmen with only four returning players. The Dons are now more than halfway through the season, with an overall record of 8-3-4 and a conference record of 5-0-2.
“Second round is gonna be tough because they know us, they know the style,” Vazquez said.
They are undefeated in conference with five remaining matches and must remain strong to end at the top. Santa Ana College has only tied against Golden West College and Fullerton College.
“Everyone understands their role and job better. And everyone is buying into what we need to do as a program and not as an individual player,” Vazquez said.
The Dons defense has led them to the top position in the conference. In net, freshman goalkeeper Jorge Cortes has been a problem for opponents to score on, with a total of 36 saves in conference.
Cortes has started in all seven conference matches and got a clean sheet in three of them. Throughout the conference he has only conceded seven goals. Defenders must remain sharp to maintain the lead at the conference table.
In the attack, the Dons have also excelled this season, with a total of 20 goals in conference and an overall of 31 goals. On offense, freshman midfielder Jose Villa has been a leader for Santa Ana. Villa has started in all 15 matches and contributed four goals and three assists.
“Jose Villa has just been magic, I think the kid is gonna have a bright future if he continues his education and plays here for two years,” Vazquez said.
The Dons have several different options in the attack, with five-goal contributions coming from sophomore midfielder Marcelo Aguirre.
“Marcelo Aguirre is a candidate for MVP if he continues his form,” Vazquez said.
Struggling offensively the Dons women’s soccer team is currently in sixth place in the Orange Empire Conference. The Don’s return since the 2019 season has been difficult with only one victory so far in conference.
The team’s current overall record is 3-7-4 and a conference record of 1-5-3. Santa Ana has slipped up twice by giving away draws in the final minutes. Both Fullerton College and Golden West College have left Santa Ana College with a draw coming from goals in the final 20 minutes.
With a squad containing 15 freshmen, they have only scored four goals in nine matches. All four of the Dons goals have come from four different players.
Santa Ana has five matches to improve defensively since this season they have conceded a total of 26 goals. In goal sophomore goalkeeper Jasmine Garcia has been put to test by having a total of 72 saves, and only one shutout match in conference so far.
“It’s been frustrating as a keeper and as a team altogether,” Garcia said.
The Dons most effective attacker has been freshmen forward Wendy Millan who has added three goals and three assists so far.