PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles men's soccer team is currently ranked no. 2 in Division 3 of the CIF Southern Section. The rankings, which are released each Monday, had the Bearcats in the number two spot with Chaffey in front of them and Long Beach Poly behind them.
The Bearcats earned this ranking by defeating San Luis Obispo, at the time the number one ranked team in the state, on their own field last week 2-0. San Luis Obispo rose to the number one team when they found a way to beat powerhouse program De
On Monday the boys traveled to Santa Maria to take on league opponent Pioneer Valley and cruised to a 2-0 victory. Juniors Aiden Kerr and Jesus Anguiano each scored a goal for Paso Robles.
Wednesday the Bearcats played a very important league game against Arroyo Grande at home. Coming into the game both teams were 3-0 and league and the winner would have the outright lead in PAC 8.
On paper, it looked as if the Bearcats would run away with this one. They were coming into the game riding a three-game winning streak and just received a top two ranking. However, Paso struggled mightily all evening. The Bearcats had trouble completing passes, trapping the ball and looked very out of sync.
“I think most of us are physically tired from the past two games against SLO, which was a really tough game, and then PV.” Senior captain goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez said. “I think our legs are a little heavy and I think that affected us psychologically in our heads and it started off bad from the beginning and it lasted throughout the game and we weren’t ever able to play the way we were supposed to play.”
The game was played almost entirely between the two 30 yard mark indicators with neither being able to control the possession for more than a few short passes.
After two ten minute overtime periods, the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
“The team didn't perform the way we wanted it too, but at the end of the day we kept the shutout and that’s a good record for me,” Rodriguez said after the game. “I stayed in the game, some people checked out, but for the team sake I stayed in the game to make sure we got the shutout.”
It was the Rodriguez’s sixth shutout of the season and perhaps the most important. The captain and emotional leader of the team recorded two big saves in the overtime period to keep the game tied.
Many of the Bearcat players were visibly upset with themselves as they walked off the field. It is a sign of the high expectations Paso has adopted after this hot start. Tying the team that is currently tied for first in PAC 8 is generally not something to be disappointed over unless your goals are set much higher than simply a PAC 8 title.
“Myself I couldn’t really do anything,” Senior defender Javier Solis said. “I couldn't really control the ball or pass the ball. It seemed like we were all tired. We couldn't connect on anything, on any of our passes and we didn't communicate.”
The tie brings the Bearcats record to 9-2-6. Tonight at 4 PM they will take on their biggest rival in the Atascadero Greyhounds. It will be a fun night at War Memorial as Division 3’s no.2 ranked boys team will be in action, and so will Division 3’s no. 10 ranked girls team (The Atascadero girls). The girls game starts at 6 PM, just after the conclusion of the boys game.
“They don't seem like a difficult team,” Rodriguez said of the Greyhounds. “But we can’t expect that we have to always come out and play as if they were the toughest team so we will see how that goes.”
The players are hoping that the fans show up for tonight’s doubleheader, “The fans always pump us up to play better,” Solis said. “And it’s is always a good game against them.”