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Cougars Weekly Report

December 5, 2007 - Major Indoor Soccer League 2 (MISL 2) - California Cougars News Release

Next Opponent Preview: Cougars (4-3) vs. La Raza de Monterrey (1-6)

The Cougars host La Raza for the final time this season. The two teams will meet two more times in Monterrey before seasons end. California is coming off its best two game road trip in their history. The Cougars have won three straight road games, and two straight overall, after their 8-6 overtime defeat of the Philadelphia KiXX at the Wachovia Spectrum and their 12-10 defeat of the previously unbeaten at home Baltimore Blast. The Cougars are 1-0 against Monterrey, having beaten the expansion club 20-10. Monterrey has not won a game since defeating the Philadelphia KiXX in the second game of their season.

The Cougars are led by Enrique Tovar, who with 22 points this year sits in the third spot on the PUMA scoring leaders chart. Fellow forward and team co-captain Chris Handsor is one point back of "Qeeks" in the standings. "Solo" finished his weekend with two thrilling game winning goals and 10 points on five goals. He had a hat trick at First Mariner Arena against the Blast. Monterrey's leading scorer is Dino Delevski with 21 points on seven two-point goals, two three-point goals and one assist. Defending Defender of the Year from 2006-07 Genoni Martinez has 11 points this season and 18 blocks in seven games played. Cougars' defender Ryan Hall leads the MISL with 21 blocks in seven games.

Upcoming games: 12/9 vs. La Raza de Monterrey 6:15PM, 1420 KSTN, californiacougars.net, KTNC TuVision (Tape Delay to air 12/15).

Team Schedule: 12/5: 9:30AM Training in Manteca, 1:00PM Weights, 3:00PM Film in Stockton 12/6: 9:30AM Training in Manteca 12/7: 9:30AM Training in Manteca, 1:00PM Weights 12/8: 9:30AM Training in Manteca 12/9: 9:30AM Training in Stockton, 6:15 vs. Monterrey 12/10: Day Off / Optional Training 12/11: 9:30AM Training in Stockton 12/12: 9:30AM Training in Stockton, 1:00PM Weights, 3:00PM Film in Stockton

HEADLINES:

Handsor, Hall and Sanaldo earn player of the week award honors

The California Cougars, of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) announce that goalkeeper Sanaldo, defender Ryan Hall and forward Chris Handsor have been named to the MISL Players of the Week award list for MISL Week 7. Five different Cougar players have won player of the week awards this season, Enrique Tovar and Sanaldo have won twice.

Co-Offensive Player of the Week: Forward, Chris Handsor

Chris Handsor made a move toward the top of the Puma Scoring Leaderboard with five goals over two games in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Handsor picked up two goals, including the game winner in overtime against the KiXX on Friday night, and then scored three more against the Blast in Baltimore. The Cougars won both games, 8-6 in overtime over Philly, and 12-10 over the Blast in Baltimore. Handsor also accounted for what turned out to be the game winning goal against a Baltimore team that had yet to lose at home this season. "Solo" moves to the number four spot on the scoring leaders list with his 10 points over the weekend. Handsor has 21 total points this year with five assists and eight two-point goals.

Defensive Player of the Week: Defender, Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall continued his pursuit toward 100 blocks in a season with seven blocks over two road games in MISL Week 7. Hall blocked four shots against the Philadelphia KiXX in the Cougars 8-6 overtime win on Friday night. He made several incredible stops including a battle over his former teammate Aaron Susi that kept the Cougars on top late in the game. Hall focused solely on his defense in both games. He did not take a shot on goal in the Philadelphia game, and registered one shot in the win over the Blast. Baltimore had yet to lose at home this season until Hall and the Cougars beat them Saturday night, 12-10. Hall picked up three more blocks in the game and currently leads the MISL with 21 blocks through seven games played.

Goalkeeper of the Week: Sanaldo

Sanaldo picked up two road wins over the weekend against the Philadelphia KiXX and the Baltimore Blast. Sanaldo was brilliant in both games. He saved nine of 12 shots faced against the KiXX and allowed just three goals in the 8-6 overtime victory. He followed that performance with an impressive stand against his former team, the Baltimore Blast. The Blast had yet to lose at home until the Cougars defeated them 12-10, at First Mariner Arena last Saturday night. Sanaldo saved 15 of 20 shots faced by his former squad. Five of his 15 saves happened in the fourth quarter. The Blast took 11 shots on goal in that quarter, and 26 overall in the game. Sanaldo allowed five goals in the game. The fifth goal was scored by Blast rookie Lucio. Sanaldo attempted to stop the shot and dislocated his pinky on his left hand in the process. After several agonizing minutes, and the diligent work of team trainer Dr. Ed LeCara, the finger was put back in place and Sanaldo stayed in the game to earn his league leading fourth win of the season.

Cougars to hold food drive benefiting Aspira Family Services

Stockton, CA - Dec. 5, 2007 - The California Cougars, of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), announce a can food drive benefiting the Aspira Foster Family Service before their December 9, 2007 game against La Raza de Monterrey.

Fans are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items at the arena's north entrance between 5:00PM and 6:00PM. Food items will continue to be collected until 6:45PM.

Persons donating a non-perishable food will receive a raffle ticket which will qualify the recipient for a four pack of tickets for an upcoming Cougars game. Tickets will be collected near the north entrance and winners will be announced the following week.

The Cougars play La Raza de Monterrey beginning at 6:15PM at Stockton Arena. Before the game the Cougars' official minor league affiliate, the Stockton Pumas, make their home winter debut against the Turlock Express of the Premiere Arena Soccer League.

The Puma game is free to attend for all fans that purchase tickets to the La Raza game at 6:15PM.

The Last Outing...

Cougars win third straight on road with 12-10 win over Blast

Baltimore, MD - The Cougars (4-3) finished their back-to-back, two game road trip with a thrilling 12-10 victory over the Baltimore Blast (5-2) at First Mariner Arena in Maryland. The win is their third straight on the road and their second in a row. The Cougars were led by forward Chris Handsor who finished with three goals including the game winning goal in the fourth quarter.

The Blast had yet to lose in their home building until the Cougars made a visit this season. California opened the scoring with Handsor scoring an unassisted goal nine minutes and 26 seconds through the first. He scored again almost three minutes later at the 12:58 mark to extend the lead to 4-0.

Handsor finished his amazing weekend with five total goals, including two game winners. His first game winning goal came against the Philadelphia KiXX in Overtime the night before. Handsor leaped several names on the MISL Puma Scoring Leaders list by climbing all the way up to the fourth spot with 21 points this season. He is one point behind fellow Cougar forward Enrique Tovar on the top scorers list.

The second quarter started out perfect for the Cougars, as they waited just one minute and four seconds before scoring again. California made it a 6-0 game with a goal from rookie forward Luis Pinto. Pinto made his pro debut the night before in Philadelphia and registered an assist in his limited time played. In two games Pinto already has three points. His goal against the Blast was a turn and shoot play assisted by Tovar.

The Cougars dominated the first 16 minutes in the game with the three goals and nearly flawless play. They used six shots on goal for their first four points in the first and did not commit a single foul. However, after Pinto's goal, things began to turn around for the Blast. They would go on to score two unanswered goals while the Cougars began to commit more fouls and take fewer shots. They finished with six fouls and four shots in the second quarter. The Blast cut the Cougar lead to 6-4 midway through the quarter and looked to have the momentum until Sagu committed a ruthless tripping penalty on Cougar midfielder Brian Farber.

Farber was brutally tripped by the Blast goalie as the two chased a loose ball past the halfway line in Baltimore's end of the field. Sagu was caught badly out of position and flung himself toward the ball and at Farber's ankles. Knocked off balance at full speed, Farber flew face first into the boards near the referee crease. He was able to slightly reduce the impact by bracing himself but still would need to be taken out the game. The play forced Sagu to the penalty bench and gave the Cougars a scoring chance with a shootout. Semir Mesanovic was called upon by head coach Bernie Lilavois to take the shot. Semir dribbled forward long enough to pull new goalkeeper Dave Kern away from the post and from the boards. With the keeper in motion Mesanovic bent a shot beyond Kern's reach and gave the Cougars the momentum right back. They led it 8-4 into the half and through the third quarter.

The Blast maintained their pressure on their former goalkeeper Sanaldo. Baltimore out shot the Cougars 26-17 in the game, and 11-3 in the fourth quarter. But, the Cougars did convert on two of the three shots taken at the Blast. Evan McNeley was the first to score in the quarter. He received a pass from Sanaldo and flew through the Blast defense to easily beat Sagu. His scoring drive started on his end of the halfway line and finished just a few feet from the Baltimore goal line. The goal gave the Cougars the 10-4 lead just 2 minutes 24 seconds into the fourth.

The Blast then mounted a comeback. Denison Cabral connected on his 800th career point at the 5:01 mark after an assist by rookie Michael Todd. Billy Nelson then took a three point shot toward Sanaldo, just 47 seconds later. The ball was redirected by Carlos Garcia and accounted for the fourth Baltimore goal in the game, and Garcia's second. The lead shrunk to just two points at 10-8.

The Blast were in full control of the game until the final dagger was put in by Handsor at the 6:49 mark. The goal was assisted by Eduardo Velez. The Cougars led 12-8 and looked for the defense to slow the Blast shot output. Cougar defenders Matt Caution and Ryan Hall led California with four and three blocks respectively. Their blocks were especially important in the fourth after Sanaldo suffered a dislocated pinky finger.

The dislocation came when Blast rookie Lucio crushed a shot at the far post at the 8:14 mark. Sanaldo leaned down to stop it, but could only manage to get the one finger on the ball. The force of the ball hitting the finger dislodged the pinky in two directions. Sanaldo immediately collapsed in pain and was treated by team trainer Dr. Ed LeCara. After a few painful, agonizing minutes the finger was put back in place and Sanaldo put his glove on. The man they call "super" rose to his feet and backed his way in front of the net. Sanaldo stayed in the game and added a few more saves to his 10 total in the game. Sanaldo faced 15 shots and allowed five goals in the win.

The Cougars held the Blast to no points through the final minutes of the game and took their second straight win by a final of 12-10. California has won three straight road games for the first time in their history. The win also marks the first time they have ever swept a road trip. Up next the Cougars face La Raza de Monterrey for the second time this season. The game is scheduled for a 6:15 start on Sunday December 9, 2007. Tickets can be purchased by calling 209-373-1550.

Cougars Leaders

Total Goals

Player GP Goals

Tovar, Enrique 7 9

Handsor, Chris 7 8

Mesanovic, Semir 6 4

Naldo 6 4

3-Point Goals

Player GP Goals

Tovar, Enrique 7 1

Mesanovic 6 1

Scheer, Craig 7 1

Points

Player GP Points

Tovar, Enrique 7 22

Handsor, Chris 7 21

Mesanovic, Semir 6 13

Naldo 6 11

Shots

Player GP Shots

Mesanovic, Semir 6 28

Tovar, Enrique 7 27

McNeley, Evan 7 21

Handsor, Chris 7 19

Assists

Player GP Assists

Handsor, Chris 7 5

Mesanovic, Semir 6 4

5 players tied at... 3

Blocks

Player GP Blocks

Hall, Ryan* 7 21

Caution, Matt 7 12

Sutton, Antonio 6 7

*League Leader

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Major Indoor Soccer League 2 Stories from December 5, 2007


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