Cougars snap losing streak, weather Storm 9-8
Stockton, CA - Feb. 15, 2008 - "These guys are young kids that will bring a lot of speed and enthusiasm to the team," said California Cougars head coach Bernie Lilavois about his two newest players Majell Aterado and Aaron Bonser. Both rookies did exactly what coach Lilavois wanted, they added a spark to a Cougars team that had lost seven straight games since starting their season at 7-4. Aterado had a three point goal in his debut against the Chicago Storm in a Friday night match seen on Fox Soccer Channel. The Cougars (8-11) defeated the Storm (13-8) 9-8 in front of 7,445 fans at Stockton Arena.
Enrique "Qeeks" Tovar had the first goal of the game for the Cougars. His team leading total now climbs to 42 points this season. Cougars' midfielder Nelson Santana matched Aterado with three points, including a two-point goal and an assist. Santana's score was a brilliant breakaway that saw him weave around three defenders for an unassisted score in the second quarter. Franck M'Bemba had his first goal in a Cougars uniform during the third quarter. His goal was assisted by Chris Handsor and served as the game winning goal.
The Cougars defense made stops where it counted the most, including a crucial penalty kill in the fourth quarter that preserved the lead through the exciting end. The defense played an all out balanced game as the 10 team blocks were scattered between seven different players. Evan McNeley led the club with four blocks on the night. The Cougars killed two of three power plays in the match.
Bonser, Pedro Lupercio, Lee Williams and Aterado served as the primary defenders in most restart and power play situations. They were spelled by Ryan Hall, Matt Caution and McNeley later in the game. Both Bonser and Aterado made solid contributions to the team in their debuts after playing in the Premiere Arena Soccer League.
Sanaldo had perhaps his most dominating game yet in a Cougars uniform. The Brazilian keeper known to some as "Super" lived up to the billing by saving 20 of 24 shots faced in the game. The Storm offense out shot the Cougars 34 to 31 in the match. Sanaldo had 10 saves in the fourth quarter alone.
California will not play at home in Stockton again until March 8th against the expansion New Jersey Ironmen. They embark on a four game road trip through February that starts against the Ironmen on Thursday morning. The Cougars then face Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee after their morning date with New Jersey. All four teams are in the heart of the playoff hunt, the Cougars are now tied with the Philadelphia KiXX for the final playoff spot with 11 games remaining for California and just seven left for Philadelphia.
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Major Indoor Soccer League 2 Stories from February 16, 2008
- Ironmen struggles continue - New Jersey Ironmen
- Cougars snap losing streak, weather Storm 9-8 - California Cougars
- Storm rally comes up short - Chicago Storm
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