LEMOORE, Calif.- The Cosumnes River men's soccer team hasn't lost in a month, going 4-0-1 during that stretch, as the Hawks offense has really been clicking on all cylinders. CRC will put their five match undefeated streak on the line later today when they head south to take on a talented West Hills team.
Led by standout freshman Isaac McDaniel, CRC's Student-Athlete of the Week this past week, the Hawks have pounded their opponents into submission, averaging over two goals per contest during this recent stretch. McDaniel (pictured right), has been a dominant force on the CRC front line, scoring five goals in their last three contests. His nine goals this season leads the Big 8 conference, and is good for second in the CCCAA's North region. Despite the team's recent success, they've struggled to put two consecutive quality halves together, as the team will need to play more consistently in order to defeat a quality West Hills team on the road.
"We played well against Fresno," said assistant coach Brandon Evangelista following the team's 3-2 victory over the Rams on Tuesday. "The first half we stayed within our system and our tactics." The Hawks took the lead early before conceding it to the Rams in the second half. An "own goal" by the Rams put the match away for the Hawks. "During that first half we controlled the ball and had most of the possession," said Evangelista. "During the 2nd half we strayed away from what was working for us in the first half." CRC escaped with the victory despite some sloppy play and unforced errors down the stretch. "We had players starting to do too much and forcing passes that didn't need to be made." "We also were causing too many fouls in our half, giving them scoring chances." The Hawks conceded 10 free kicks in the contest, and the Rams converted on two of them, helping to keep the match close.
The Hawks won't be able to repeat their recent success without putting together two quality halves against West Hills, a team possessing a potent offense. "West Hills is typically a good college team," said Evangelista of the Falcons during practice this week. "In the past they have had very good technical players and guys who can work the ball around and keep possession." The Falcons are led by forward Sylas Moura, who is tied with McDaniel for second in the North region with nine goals. "Their team this year has a couple of good skillful players in the midfield that can create attacking options," said Evangelista. "Their front players have some speed on them and like to go at defenders and create one on one opportunities." The team has seven victories on the season, but is coming off a two game slide to Big 8 opponents Modesto JC and American River. Moura didn't score in the last two contests.
Despite the team's recent success, the Hawks won't take the Falcons lightly. However, the team is playing with a lot of confidence now. "I feel with the quickness we possess up front that we can put them under pressure and have them cough up the ball a lot to us," said Evangelista. "If we keep high pressure on their back line I feel we will control most of the possession and have a good chance of winning the game."
The Hawks begin a three-match road trip today, before returning home on November 1st to take on Delta in Big 8 action.