Vaqueros confident in filling void left by Knight

The first question for the SBCC men’s soccer team is an obvious one — how do you replace goal-scoring machine Mark Knight, who has moved on to play for the University of Louisville? Knight earned Western State Conference MVP honors last year with 31 goals and 81 points that helped the Vaqueros capture their first WSC title in eight years.

“I don’t think we’ve got any player that will do the job Mark did,” said third-year coach John Sisterson, who also coaches the SBCC women’s squad. “He was a very unusual player and we’re not going to get anybody to fill his boots.

“We have a lot of talent on this squad and I think the goals will be spread around. There’s a lot of people capable of scoring goals and we’ve got a lot of options.”

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Craig Davies, a first-team All-WSC defender, tops the list of returners along with Stuart Kirk, Danny Molineaux, goalie Ricky Placencia, Alfredo Martinez and Beville Rose. Placencia, the top goalie in the WSC last year, will miss the first two months with a finger injury. Yonha Adrabi, who began as the No. 3 keeper, has moved into the starting role and “taken the bull by the horns,” according to Sisterson.

Sponsor Your Favorite TeamThe Vaqueros open the season on Friday with a long road trip to Visalia where they’ll take on Sequoias in a 2 p.m. game. They only have two home games during their six-game nonconference slate, on Sept. 15 vs. San Bernardino and Sept. 25 against Taft.

Molineaux was fourth among WSC scorers last year with 11 goals and seven assists while Kirk was sixth with 11 goals. They’ll be joined at the forward position by newcomers Blake Nania and Peter Aguillar, a pair of Santa Barbara High products.

Danny Rodriguez, a former all-CIF player at Pacifica High in Oxnard, played for Oxnard College last year before transferring to SBCC in January. He’ll play in the midfield, along with Martinez and Guillermo Gonzalez, a freshman from Carpinteria High who looked strong in the Westmont scrimmage, according to Sisterson. Other top midfield candidates are freshmen Diego Diaz Duenas, Michael Dowson and Lee Jackson.

Rose returns at right back with Davies at left back in the Vaquero defense. Jordan Leeming, a starter last year, is back after suffering a broken ankle last year. Hector Magallanes, who missed all of last season with an injury, is also expected to see playing time, along with freshmen Sam Nicholson and Qidon Liu.

“We have about eight natural left-footed players and they’re all very gifted, so we’ve got options on the left side,” noted Sisterson, the 2008 WSC Coach of the Year. “Probably more options on that side than any team I’ve coached.”

SBCC won two playoff games last year to reach the quarterfinals of the state before falling 3-1 at Mt. San Antonio, the No. 1 seed in Southern California. They could get another shot at the Mounties on Sept. 6 when they play in the Mt. SAC tournament.

The Vaqueros were 12-1 at home last year and have won 18 of their last 19 at La Playa Stadium.

“I think we’ll be able to score again,” said Sisterson, whose team averaged 3.6 goals last year and led all California community colleges with 90 goals. “We’ve got so many options, the goals will come from different areas. There’s no reason we can’t be strong again. Our coaching job is to get them to play together and buy into our system.

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