Cougars Clinch West
Parker, CO - Feb. 21, 2009 - The Stockton Cougars clinched their first ever division title in style by blasting the Denver Dynamite 18-12 in Parker, CO on Saturday night. Led by head coach/forward Bernie Lilavois' record setting nine points, the Cougars clinched both the Western Division and a first round bye in the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro) Championship Tournament at Stockton Arena in March.
Stockton will play a yet-to-be-determined opponent on March 14 during the PASL-Pro Championship Tournament at 7:30PM. The match will be broadcast online via streaming audio on www.stocktoncougars.net and on 1420AM KSTN in Stockton.
Lilavois netted six goals in the final road game of the 2008-09 season for Stockton. However, he was not alone in the goals for column. Seven different Cougars players scored at least one goal in the match. Aaron Susi and Uriel Robledo each scored one goal, while Nelson Santana and Ato Leone scored two each for Stockton. Both Brian Farber and Majell Aterado had three goals in the victory.
Stockton fell behind early after former California Cougars forward Garth Archibald lit up the scoreboard with three early goals. He put Denver up 3-0 in the first quarter, but saw the streak end when Susi connected on a power play goal at the 4:13 mark of the first.
Much like their first meeting with the Dynamite, the Cougars followed Susi's goal with four straight scores. They had fallen behind 2-0 to Denver at home on November 22 before going on a five goal streak. Stockton went on to win that first match 15-5 and they would do the same in the rematch.
Leading the comeback charge was Lilavois and his five second quarter goals, three of which were scored during Stockton's 5-0 run. He scored his first two at the 14:03 and 13:54 marks of the second quarter. Santana followed his first of the match with 12:59 left. Lilavois closed the streak with another goal at the 12:42 mark.
The streak stopped when Jake Harris scored with 12:24 left in the quarter. Lilavois struck again at the 9:39 mark and Stockton enjoyed a 6-4 lead with 9:39 remaining in the half.
Chad Pearson recorded a power play goal with 7:54 remaining, but again it was Lilavois who answered the Denver goal. He scored his fifth of the quarter with 4:58 left.
Lilavois rocked Denver with six goals and three assists in the win. His nine points in Saturday's match is a season high for the Cougars. The previous high was eight, set by Lilavois on February 12 at Stockton Arena against Chico. He has scored 23 points over his last four games and has netted 15 goals over the same span. Lilavois has now scored 987 points in his career.
Denver followed Lilavois' fifth goal with two straight scores and would tie the game at 7-7 with :40 left in the half. But, Santana gave Stockton their halftime lead by striking an unassisted shot with just :21 left in the quarter. They entered the break with an 8-7 lead against Denver.
The second half was a see-saw battle that saw Archibald and the Dynamite score first. His third quarter goal tied the match again at 8-8 with 12:55 remaining in the quarter.
Stockton took their lead back with a goal by Robledo, but the Dynamite answered again when Ryan Creager scored to tie it up at nine apiece. Denver took a 10-9 when Jay Hamilton netted a goal with 8:03 remaining in the third.
The momentum had been in Denver's favor until Aterado struck a pass from Lilavois beyond the reach of Dynamite keeper Danny Main. It happened on a free kick play and was the start of a six goal run by Stockton.
Aterado's goal was the first for him since his go-ahead strike at home against Monterrey on February 5.
Lilavois followed his midfielder's goal with his sixth of the match with 5:20 left in the third. Back on their heels, Denver resorted to fouls in attempt to keep pace with the streaking Cougars. Stockton took advantage and kept their pressure going when Farber struck his first of the match with 3:02 left in the third.
It was Aterado who netted the dagger that extinguished the Dynamite attack. His midfield goal as time expired in the third gave Stockton a 13-10 advantage. It would be the eventual game winner. He scored the impressive line-drive goal from approximately 80 feet away from the net.
Leone rattled off two scores in the fourth quarter to bring the lead to 15-10 before Creager stopped the six goal run. However, Aterado answered with his third of the match at the 3:01 mark of the quarter.
Denver scored their final goal with 2:06 remaining in the game with a goal by Creager, assisted by Archibad. They immediately went to a sixth attacker offense and Farber made them regret it. He scored two sixth attacker goals, the first with 1:52 remaining and the second with 1:44 left. His second goal was scored while he stood just inches away from the halfway line's center spot.
Farber leads the team with 43 goals over 18 overall games played. Lilavois leads the team with 37 PASL-Pro goals. Lilavois also leads the team with 64 points scored in all competition.
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