COD Men’s Soccer will travel to #7 Rio Hondo Saturday in SoCal Quarterfinals

COD Men’s Soccer will travel to #7 Rio Hondo Saturday in SoCal Quarterfinals

COD Men's Soccer has claimed the #10 seed and is on the road against a familiar foe in the opening round of the SoCal Regional playoffs after winning their first Conference Title since 1999.

State Playoffs Ticket Prices are as follows: General Admission is $12. Faculty, Staff, Children Under 12, Adults 60+ & Students w/ Valid A.S. card are $8. The game will take place on the campus of Rio Hondo College in Whittier and will kick off at the Roadrunners Soccer Complex at 7 p.m.

Under the tutelage of second-year head coach Enrique Cardenas, the #10 seeded Roadrunners Men's Soccer team ended the 2018 season claiming their 5th Conference championship, the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) Coach of the Year award, Goalkeeper of the Year and the Conference MVP award.

Cardenas was awarded for the first time as Coach of the Year finishing the regular season, with a 12-3-5 overall record and a 10-1-5 conference record, wrapping up the regular season winning 7 of their final 8 games. They were rewarded with the 10 seed in the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

Desert will face off with a Rio Hondo Roadrunners team (yes, both teams have "Roadrunners" as their mascot) that finished the regular season with a record of 11-5-6, the Roadrunners ended the 2018 season in second place in the South Coast Conference-North Division (SCCC-North) with a record of 4-2-2. The Roadrunners started the season 6-1-3, and have lost 4 of their last 7 games.

Rio Hondo finished the 2017 season third in the South Coast Conference-North Division with a record of 4-3-1, with an overall record of 11-6-6. The Roadrunners were most recently in the playoffs in the 2017 season entering the Southern California Regional's as the 8th seed, Rio Hondo lost at home to Santa Monica in the opening round of Regional's, 2-1. The Roadrunners are coached by Orlando Brenes in his 20th season.

The last time Desert and Rio Hondo met was November 10, 2015 in Whittier, when both teams were still in the Foothill Conference, the game ended in a 3-3 draw.

In a showdown between former Foothill Conference foes, this "Roadrunners v. Roadrunners" match-up looks to be everything a fan would want in an opening salvo of the Southern California Regionals.

Men's Soccer freshman forward Alejandro Pimentel (Thermal Desert Mirage) was selected the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player, playing in all 20 regular season games for Desert while scoring nearly a goal a game, with 19 and finishing tops in Southern California and fourth in the state in goals scored. Pimentel also finished with five multi-goal games, as well as in the top ten in the state in shots taken (48) and top five in the state in total points (44).

Men's Soccer freshman goalkeeper Uriel Lopez (Palm Desert H.S.) was selected the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year, starting 17 of 18 regular season games for the Roadrunners, logging 1,610 minutes in net, grabbing all seven clean sheets on the season for Desert and finishing third in the state in saves, with 104. His save percentage of .846 was good enough for 12th in the state and his 1.06 goals against average was good enough for 26th in the state.

Men's Soccer sophomore defender Armando Rivera (Thermal Desert Mirage) and sophomore forward Luis Gastelum (Rancho Mirage H.S.) were both named first team all-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

Rivera was one of the key cogs in the Roadrunners defensive wall and his 6'5" frame helped to lead in seven clean sheets over the course of his 17 games. He did happen to score a couple of goals even while on defense including scoring the game winner at San Diego Mesa on September 21st.

Gastelum was a valuable contributor throughout the course of the 2018 season, starting 19 of 20 regular season games and grabbing nine goals and eight assists. He scored the game winning goal at MiraCosta and converted a key penalty kick at home against San Bernardino Valley on October 2nd.

The winner of Saturday's first-round contest will advance to face the winner of No. 15 College of the Canyons and No. 2 Mt. San Antonio College on Tuesday (Nov. 20). Three wins are needed to advance to the CCCAA Soccer State Championship on Nov. 30 & Dec. 2 at Ventura College.

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For additional information, please contact the COD Sports Information Office at 760.423.6641.

Information & Story provided by COD Sports Information. Photo by Michael Leone Photography (