By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
College of the Canyons finished the 2019 season a game short of winning a second straight conference title after falling to visiting Bakersfield College 2-1 on Friday.
The Cougars' (3-11-4, 2-3-3) went 2-1-3 across the final six matches to set up Friday's showdown with the Renegades, and seized an early first-half lead before having their season come to an abrupt ending.
In the 42nd minute COC sophomore captain Jake Erazo joined the attack from his defensive position and found himself behind the Renegades' goalkeeper. Erazo then took a pass from Jesus Ocampo and tapped into the empty net for a Canyons 1-0 lead.
Bakersfield (10-7-3, 4-2-2) looked to have regrouped during the halftime break and quickly tied the game at 1-1 on a score from Mathew Solorio in the 47th minute.
The two teams played an intense second half with lots of chances on both sides. Bakersfield fired off 11 shots in the game while Canyons finished with 12. The Cougars and Renegades both earned eight corner kicks.
The five saves from COC goalkeeper Kian Bensend helped keep things even for the next 23 minutes.
But Bakersfield took a 2-1 advantage in the 70th minute on an unassisted goal from Christian Gonzalez, that would ultimately be the game winner. That score gave the Renegades the first conference title in program history.
In 2018, Canyons won its first conference title in program history with a 1-0 victory at Bakersfield on the final day of the regular season.
COC ends the season fourth in a very tight Western State Conference (WSC), South Division race. Bakersfield won the title at 14 points followed by Antelope Valley (11), Citrus (10), COC (9) and Glendale (8).
Canyons had previously defeated Bakersfield on the road by a 2-0 score back on Oct. 29. The Cougars and AVC played to a draw in both meetings this season. COC also split the season series with Citrus. The Cougars lost on the road at Citrus before playing to a home draw in the second meeting.
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.