Rancho Cotate captures first NBL boys soccer crown

By DOUG AMADOR
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

In four of the past five seasons, Rancho Cotate has qualified for the North Coast Section playoffs, only to be bounced in the first round.

(www.shutterstock.com)

(www.shutterstock.com)

Cougars coach Eamon Kelly expects better than a one-and-done performance this year, especially after Rancho on Friday night clinched its first North Bay League title in school history with a 2-0 victory over visiting Maria Carrillo.

“The guys really deserved it,” Kelly said. “Just the mental focus and discipline are what separates this team from the others. We had skilled players in the past, but they didn’t have the mental fortitude this team has.”

Aron Mendoza put Rancho up with a first-half goal, assisted by Kevin Juarez. Then Enrique Gomez left little doubt about the outcome with an unassisted goal in the second half as Rancho remained unbeaten in league at 9-0-3 (13-1-3 overall).

Goalkeeper Chris Mendoza, who has allowed just 12 goals this season, posted the shutout. And Sergio Bobadilla, whom Kelly called the team’s “defensive general,” thwarted a Pumas strike to help preserve the shutout.

“We have an outstanding team,” Kelly said. “From the start of the year they were focused. They knew what they wanted.”