By ALEX JIMENEZ
Pima Community College men’s soccer (14-1, 8-1 ACCAC) was handed its first loss Saturday, in the last game of the regular season by Arizona Western College (17-0, 9-0).
After the loss, Pima fell from No. 1 to No. 2 in the country, according to the NJCAA DII Men’s Soccer Rankings.
Arizona Western held lots of possession and had a few goal-scoring chances in the first half, but Pima’s defense remained solid. Pima grew into the game and created a couple scoring chances in the second half themselves, including a late freekick from Saul Lopez that went just wide of the post.
In the 65th minute, Nozomu Kamei broke the deadlock, giving Arizona Western the 1-0 lead and scoring the only goal of the game.
Although Pima suffered a loss, the Aztecs still managed to secure the No. 1 seed in the NJCAA Region I, Division II tournament because Arizona Western is a Division I school.
“It’s just one loss; we can’t focus on it too much,” said Pima defender Sam Lossou. “Arizona Western is a good team. We’re just trying to get better in practice, in games, win or lose, and we can learn from games like this and keep getting better.”
Pima will be hosting No. 4 Glendale Community College at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the West Campus Aztec Soccer Field for the region semifinal.
Pima and Glendale have played on two separate occasions this season, with Pima winning both by scores of 7-0 and 3-0.
“We can’t get cocky, those games don’t matter anymore,” Lossou said. “If we lose, we still go home, even if we beat them in two regular season games.
“Most of us came back after losing in the semifinals of nationals. We came back to win that and to get back there (nationals) we just have to stay focused and keep winning.”
The winner of this game will play in the Region I championship against the winner of Phoenix College versus Paradise Valley Community College.
NJCAA Region I, Division II Tournament NJCAA Region I, Division II TournamentNJCAA Region I, Division II Tournament