10/2/2012 11:05:00 PM Roughrider soccer team handles Mesa, cruises into road swing
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier Yavapai’s Kyle Morris (16) slide tackles Mesa’s Brennan Redd (20) and steals the ball Tuesday evening at Ken Lindley Field in Prescott.
The Daily Courier
A six-point division lead with six matches left. That's what faces the Yavapai College men's soccer team.
The Roughriders, who came in again at No. 2 on this week's NJCAA national poll, handled the Mesa Thunderbirds 4-1 Tuesday night at Ken Lindley Field in Prescott. YC improves to 14-1-0 on the season, and has now won 19 straight matches against Mesa going back to 2003.
The win keeps YC atop the Arizona conference with a 13-1-0 mark and 39 points. Second-place Arizona Western still trails the Roughriders with 33 points, after besting Gateway 4-0 Tuesday night in Phoenix.
Freshman attacker Alex Harlley opened the scoring with what YC head coach Mike Pantalione afterward called one of the most impressive goals in Yavapai history. Harlley connected on a left-footed goal into the upper corner from 25 yards out.
Mesa battled back, however.
The Thunderbirds (4-10-0) evened things up when Bryan Suarez beat Yavapai keeper Kieran Coleman-Fry in the 30th minute.
The Roughriders managed to take a lead into halftime, though, when sophomore Kyle Morris scored three minutes after Suarez' equalizer.
Yavapai widened its lead in the second half when Harlley got loose for his second goal, and freshman attacker Junior Albon Gbapou added a late score in the 60th minute.
YC out-shot Mesa 37-16 on the night.
Gbapou's score marked the 2,300th goal in the history of the Yavapai program. Over the same span, the Roughrider program has allowed just 395 goals.
The Roughriders next open a season-long three-game road swing as they try and hang onto first place, with a critical final two games of the season looming (vs. Pima, Oct. 13; at Arizona Western, Oct. 18).
Before then, YC will contend with three straight road games starting Thursday night at Gateway. The sides will meet at Rose Mofford Park, site of YC's 2008 national championship victory.