The Lassen College men’s soccer team played their first conference game at home Tuesday, Sept. 26 against the Lake Tahoe Coyotes.
The Cougars have been working hard throughout the non-conference season, and the hard work clearly paid off, as the final score was a 3-0 win for Lassen.
Tension on the field was high throughout the game as the men’s team’s first priority was shaking off the sour luck that had plagued the field from the women’s game played prior to the men’s.
Though it took a majority of the first half for the Cougar men to find themselves in sync with one another, the time spent was not time wasted. By the start of the second half, Lassen was in great shape and the Coyote goal seemed to beg for some action. Thus the three goals were scored.
In the first half, Lake Tahoe attempted a goal, but Coyote cheers turned into muffled curses as the goal was not credible.
Daudi Amour made his first shot on goal nine minutes into the game, but the Coyote goalie was quick to catch the ball.
Soon afterward, Lake Tahoe attempted to score again, but Cougar keeper Jordan Brown dove to the left corner and kept the ball out of the net.
Twelve minutes into the game, Adolf Bitegeko attempted to shoot a goal straight on, but again the Coyote goalie was too quick to fool.
After a solid 20 minutes of game play, one of the Coyote forwards received a yellow card for his constant use of shoving and sliding side tackles. The justice caused the hoard of Cougar fans to cheer more loudly than any point prior in the game.
Brown blocked a shot on goal with less than 20 minutes remaining of the half; then, 10 minutes later, Brown leapt into the air and blocked another shot on goal by using his fingertips to launce it 12 feet in the air.
Things truly started heating up in the final seven minutes of the half as Carlos Cusatis sprinted down the field while constantly dribbling the ball until the tricked the Coyote keeper to abandon the goal. Cusatis tried to take advantage of the opportunity, but after both players slid on the ground, the Coyote managed to recover just quick enough to recover the ball and foil Cusatis’ plans for a goal.
With less than three minutes remaining on the clock, Lake Tahoe made a strong shot on goal that was too quick for even Brown to defend. However, Cougar player Gabriel Gaitto appeared prepared for the attack as he found himself perfectly positioned in front of the goal to send the ball flying defensively.
When the whistle for halftime blew, the score was still tied at 0-0.
In the second half, the Coyotes attempted to gain control of the game with a shot on goal in the first two minutes. However, Sean Lynch proved himself a valuable defender as he blocked the shot and sent it back to Coyote territory.
Five minutes later, Cusatis eagerly tried to make up for lost time by breaking away from the crowd with the ball and easily gaining 30 yards for the Cougars via dribbling.
The Cougars made another shot on goal, but the first goal was yet to be scored.
Growing impatient with the tie on the board, the Cougars tried a different strategy with the focus on Lassen’s defense.
Keeping the ball in Cougar territory, Lynch, Gifanho Lubaki and Brown passed it in a triangle-like formation until assessing which sideline would be most advantageous for the attack.
Lassen then rushed the ball down the sideline until Lucca Lima shot a goal with assists from Amour and Cusatis; the score rose to 1-0, Cougars, with less than 35 minutes remaining of the game.
With one goal made, the Cougars seemed even hungrier for another. However, so did the Coyotes.
Three minutes after the goal, the Coyotes attempted to score, but Brown was too quick. Lake Tahoe ultimately earned a corner kick and saw the ball curve into the goal, but a headbutt from Lynch sent the ball flying away of the danger zone.
With 25 minutes remaining, Bernardo Lima made a shot on goal with four Coyote defenders in his way. Gaitto followed up by recovering the ball and shooting toward the goal, but the attempt was also unsuccessful.
Four minutes after the most recent scoring attempts, the rowdy Coyote was red carded, thus allowing the game to continue without as many shoves and bruises.
In the final 10 minutes, Lubaki made an incredible save for the Cougars by diving to shoot the ball away from the Lassen goal. With the score still 1-0, both teams were well-aware that it was anyone’s game.
Dissatisfied with the possibility of losing the lead, the Cougars worked together in an amazing show of teamwork until Bernardo Lima kicked the ball into the goal from a corner shot made by Bitegeko.
With two goals on the board for Lassen and less than five minutes remaining, the first game of the conference was looking good for Lassen.
Unfortunately for the Coyotes, once the Cougars boarded the success train, there likely wasn’t going to be a stop in the near future.
Two minutes after the second goal, Cusatis broke away from the hoard of players and with an assist from Bernardo Lima, he scored the final point of the game.
The 3-0 score certainly was a great way to start conference. Hopefully, the Cougars will continue to dominate on the field all season long.
Head coach George Kee commented, “This was our first home game at conference. We had a pretty tough preseason with ups and downs, but it felt good to start conference with a win.”
The next conference game for the Cougars will be held today, Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Butte. Fans can catch the men play at home this Friday, Oct. 6 against Shasta.