Fresno City holds off Mt. San Antonio, setting up state championship showdown with Taft

Fresno City holds off Mt. San Antonio, setting up state championship showdown with Taft

Tournament Central

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Fresno City College scored two goals in the game's first 48 minutes and then held off a frantic rally from defending champion Mt. San Antonio College down the stretch as the Rams posted a 2-1 win at American River College on Friday, setting up an all-Northern California showdown for the California Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Soccer Championship. 

Fresno City improved to 17-1-6 and will face Taft College (17-4-4) for the state championship on Sunday at 10 a.m. Mt. San Antonio finishes its year with a 17-5-3 record.

The Rams scored the game's first goal in the 34th minute when Alfred Lopez's throw-in from the far side was headed in by Alfredo Lopez. It was Lopez's 20th goal this season and kept Fresno in the lead going into halftime. The Rams extended their lead early in the second half when Manuel Lopez struck for his eighth goal of the season in the 48th minute. 

It looked like Fresno was going to march into the championship but the defending state champions weren't done. Andrea Gamboa took a pass from Sam Ponting in the 81st minute and scored for the 13th time in 2017, making it 2-1.

The Mounties continued to keep the pressure on during the remaining minutes of regulation and into stoppage time, coming razor thin close to tie it in the waning moments when Randy De Los Santos' cross was headed by Marty Raygoza directly in front of the goal, only to have it find the crossbar. Fresno was able to hold on from there.

Fresno City and Taft were co-champions of the Central Valley Conference this season, tying 0-0 in their two matchups during the regular season. Taft's state championship in 2007 was the last by a Northern California school.