By Hector Ibanez
The Glendale Community College Men’s soccer team has had a spectacular season thus far. Going 10-1-1, the Gauchos are poised to make this a memorable season.
Their remarkable season began on August 23 when Glendale defeated the Chandler–Gilbert Community College Coyotes with the score of 1-0. Erik Venagas scores the lone goal for the Gauchos.
Their next match on August 28 against the Paradise Valley Community College Pumas was an all out assault. The Gauchos demoralized the Pumas 7-1. Glendale was able score all 7 of their goals in the first 45 minutes of play. Goalies Matt Richardson and Ian Heffington combined for a total of 7 saves. Venegas was put the ball through the net earning 2 of the 7 scores.
After defeating the likes of Arizona Western College 2-1, Pima Community College 3-1, and Gateway Community College 3-2, they Glendale Gauchos winning streak was up to 5. During the series of victories, the Gauchos outscored their opponents 16-5 and were sitting pretty at 5-0.
Unfortunately for Glendale, it came to a halt on September 11 as the streak was broken by the Phoenix College Bears 5-2. The Bears scored 2 early goals in the thirteenth minute of the match and didn’t look back. The Gaucho were able to muster 2 goals in the latter part of the game, but it came too late.
Glendale didn’t let that lose discourage them as it was evident by their next two challengers. On September 13, the Gauchos routed the Mesa Community College Thunderbirds 4-1. Fernando Arce came up huge has he scored 2 of the 4 goals for GCC.
The Gauchos went on to defeat the Scottsdale Community College Artichokes 4-0.
Their toughest test came against number 2 ranked Yavapai College on September 20. The match was an absolute defensive struggle. After both teams went scoreless in regulation, the game went into overtime. In the extra time, the stellar defensive play continued as neither team could find the goal. Afterwords, the game went into another overtime. After the second overtime was complete, Glendale escaped with 0-0 tie thanks to the spectacular play of Matt Richardson as he clocked in 10 saves.
“It was without a doubt one of the best matches I’ve seen in my NJCAA career. The atmosphere at Ken Lindley Field in Prescott is arguably the best in Arizona, and that night was particularly exciting because you had two nationally ranked teams fighting for first place in the conference” said Head Coach Dan Littlefield. “The pace was incredible with both teams looking to attack and both teams creating multiple dangerous opportunities. Amazingly, it went on like that for ninety minutes with both teams expending a tremendous amount of energy. Towards the end, you could see the elevation and intensity begin to affect us a bit and Yavapai was able to put us under pressure during the overtime period.”
After taking down South Mountain Community College 6-0, the Gauchos earned recognition by attaining a spot on the Top 20 National Poll being ranked number 12 in the country as of September 23.
The accolades didn’t stop there. Goalkeeper Matt Richardson was awarded Men’s Soccer Player of the Week by the ACCAC for the week of September 22. Richardson has allowed one goal or less nine times this season including three shutouts in a row.
“Matt has been fantastic on the field this season and his play is a big reason we’ve had the success we’ve had so far. More importantly, he’s demonstrated what true commitment, desire, and discipline can achieve” said Coach Littlefield. “He worked incredibly hard this past spring and summer in preparation for this season. As a result, he has really elevated his game and become one of the better goalkeepers in the conference.”
With a handful of games remaining, the Glendale Gauchos are primed to do great things this season. Their next match will be on October 4 against Arizona Western College at Rose Mofford Park.