Saturday, June 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Sports Lead

The following article was posted on September 6th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 27

Allan Hancock College Men's Soccer starts season strong


The name of the game in soccer is control—controlling both the ball and the tempo of the game. That’s exactly what dictated the outcome of the Allan Hancock College men’s soccer team’s first game of the season against Monterey Peninsula on Aug. 25.

Hancock shut out Monterey 2-0, which coach Billy Vinnedge credits to his team’s constant control of the ball during the game.

“We maintained possession of the ball for most of the game. My keeper had no saves, so no shots were on goal the whole game,” Vinnedge said. “The chemistry with our team is great right now, and everybody is shifting as a team together.”

Allan Hancock College sophomore Migel Gomez (left) scored the men’s soccer team’s first goal of the season at a game against Monterey Peninsula on Aug. 25, which the Bulldogs won 2-0.

The Bulldogs have focused closely on communication, conditioning, and drills that maximize their collaboration on the field during summer practices, Vinnedge explained. The game against Monterey was the first season opener that Hancock’s men’s soccer team has won since 2010.

The first point of that game was made by Migel Gomez, a second year conference player for Hancock. Gomez had 10 goals and 11 assists across last year’s season, Vinnedge said, and he was excited to see the Hancock sophomore make the first goal of the season.

“In my eyes and a lot of coaches’ eyes, he will be one of the top forwards in the state this year,” he said. “He shoots off the ball, great shot. He’s one of our captains and is just a great guy to have on your team.”

Vinnedge added that Gomez dribbled past six Monetery players to make the goal.

But Hancock’s coach also wanted to make clear that players like Gomez aren’t alone on the field, and a big part of their success has to do with how the team works as a whole.

“Our goal is to ultimately get everyone involved in the passing game,” he said. “What makes Migel a great player is the support players around him who put him in the right situation.”

Keeping control of the ball for the majority of a game, to the point where the other team doesn’t even get to take a shot on the goal, is due largely to the defenders. Vinnedge said that his two center defenders, Joseph Goryance and Anjel Mendez, coordinate the defense in each game, and their communication and leadership on the field was vital to shut out Monterey.

Goryance, a second year Hancock soccer player and captain, said the Monterey game was a great start to the season. He said that he and Mendez work well together in keeping the ball in Hancock’s control.

“We definitely are a more possession-oriented team this year, passing around with the players in the midfield,” he said. “We both like to have the ball on our feet and make some pass and plays and control the tempo of the game.”

The second game of their season came on Aug. 29 against Bakersfield, where Hancock’s defense did have one “breakdown” during the first half, Goryance explained, and suffered a point to the opposition.

Hancock’s men’s soccer team has worked closely together to maximize communication and teamwork on the field, coach Billy Vinnedge said, which helped in the team’s early season success.

During halftime, the team and coaches regrouped, Vinnedge said, and the team was able to meet the challenge and score during the second half. The game ended in a tie after Gomez made his second goal of the early season.

Even though Hancock didn’t take home a victory from Bakersfield, Goryance said he was still satisfied with the team’s performance.

“Towards the second half, we really stepped it up,” he said. “We knew we were a goal down and so knew we needed to up the intensity.”

Vinnedge said this year’s Bulldogs are working well together, which he credits to a few things. First, the team has a few more coaches helping out, he said, and secondly, the players are really connecting athletically and personally.

“Our group is just completely committed to each other, to the team, to becoming a family,” he said. “It’s been a real fun first month leading into this game and all the credit to the guys for buying into the program and being able to work and get in shape.”

Continuing to practice at a high level is a crucial part of Hancock’s strategy as they move through the season. The team hasn’t just worked on drills to maximize their abilities as a team, but they’re also working on their endurance as well.

That makes all the difference in games like the one against Bakersfield, where keeping the opposition off of the goal and staying in possession decide the outcome, Goryance said. That’s also the Bulldogs’ strategy continuing into the midseason.

“I think that’s a big part of our game, something I’ve enjoyed a lot more this year, is posessing the ball, passing it around, tiring them out, and using our coniditioning to our advantage,” he said. “That’s one of our key things we’ve been working on during the summer and the preseason, pushing our conditioning up so we can last longer in the game.

“I’m enjoying this season so far,” he added. “We have a lot of guys, and we’re all bonding and having fun. The practices are challenging and fun at the same time.” 

Managing Editor Joe Payne can be reached at

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