SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Taft College overcame an early one-goal deficit, picked up a tying goal from Hugo Magana in the 59th minute and then outlasted unbeaten Cerritos College in penalty kicks on Friday at American River College, as the Cougars advanced to the California Community College Men's Soccer Championship game on Sunday.
Taft goalie Brandon Garcia made three saves in penalty kicks to help key the win.
Taft will take a 17-4-5 record into Sunday's title game against either Fresno City College (14-1-6) or Mt. San Antonio College (16-4-2) which play at 4 p.m. Cerritos ends its impressive season with a 17-0-7 record.
Cerritos struck first, wasting little time getting on the scoreboard in the 10th minute when Carlos Payeras scored his seventh goal of the season off a corner by Christian Perez that ended up on the left side of the goal where Payeras knocked it in. Perez and Luis Lira were credited with assists.
The score stayed that way until the 43rd minute when a foul in the box resulted in a penalty kick for Taft. But Falcons' goalie Jordan Aldama made a tremendous save diving to his left to keep Cerritos in front. Taft, though, wouldn't be denied in the 59th minute when a kick into the box by Alan Perez was headed by Miguel Coronado to the left of the goal where Magana put his 17th goal of the season into the back of the net.
Despite being a man up because of a Cerritos red card in the 84th minute, Taft wasn't able to take the lead and the teams remained tied going into the two 15-minute overtime periods. Taft had a great chance to score in the first extra period but its shot went over the crossbar. Neither team was able to score the rest of the way, leading to the penalty kicks.
It was there that Garcia showed his mettle by stopping the Falcons' Guy Carven on the first try from Cerritos and then turned back Perez on the third attempt. Meanwhile, Clayton Torr, Christian Cabrera, Alexander Cabrera and Brandon Garcia all converted their penalty kicks for Taft.
Taft will be looking for its first state title since 2007.
Cerritos outshot Taft, 16-11, including a 6-3 advantage on shots on goal.