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March 12, 2008 - Major Indoor Soccer League 2 (MISL 2) - California Cougars News Release

California Cougars Game Preview

DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 13th, 7:35 p.m. (pt)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena Monterrey - Monterrey, N.L. Overall Record: Monterrey 13-12, California 9-15. Home Record: Monterrey 8-4, California 5-6. Away Record: Monterrey 5-8, California 4-9. Series Record: California leads: 2-1.

GAME NOTES: The California Cougars will attempt to prove that 13 is not the unluckiest number when they face La Raza de Monterrey for the final time in the regular season. The Cougars have just 13 players available for their March 13 match against La Raza. The small roster is once again a direct result of the injury bug hitting the Cougars again this season. Rookie Majell Aterado injured his knee against New Jersey on Saturday night and did not make the trip to Mexico. The Cougars are also without head coach Bernie Lilavois who is serving a one game suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards as both a coach and player. The Cougars will be shorthanded but energized. Their recent youth movement has paid dividends on the defensive side. California's young defense has limited opponents to 13 points over their last seven quarters played. That defense will be given their toughest test of the season against the MISL's top offensive team. Monterrey averages a league high 14.8 points forced per match. They also own the second highest averages of shots forced (30.6) per contest, but the highest shots allowed average (33.0). The Cougars midfield will be put to the test as the team is without forwards Lilavois, Chris Handsor and Naldo for Thursday's match. Midfielder Brian Farber did travel with the team and should see significant playing time. He did not play for the Cougars during their first visit to Monterrey on 1/31. The Cougars were defeated 23-6, and were not able to score during the first half of play.

Upcoming Cougars Milestones

Through games of 3/11/08

Brian Farber: 85 Career Points

Ryan Hall: 139 Career Blocks

Chris Handsor: 584 Career Points

Semir Mesanovic: 99 Career Points

Semir Mesanovic: 47 Career Goals

Nelson Santana: 49 Career Points

Bernie Lilavois: 890 Career Points

Last Game:

Cougars take physical match; defeat New Jersey 7-6

Stockton, CA - Mar. 8, 2008 - After losing four straight games since their last home match, the California Cougars defeated the New Jersey Ironmen 7-6 at Stockton Arena on Saturday night. A crowd of 5,553 fans were treated to a nail biting, hard fought and brutal home win that the Cougars desperately needed to stay alive in the playoff chase. The Cougars (9-15) are now three games behind the Ironmen (12-12) for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Major Indoor Soccer League. Enrique "Qeeks" Tovar nailed a three point goal in the fourth quarter for the game winning shot.

The Cougars fought desperately to gain momentum in the game, but each opportunity seemed to fall to a penalty call. The Cougars were given seven penalties in the match, including three yellow cards and four blue cards. California was penalized four times in the first half, coach Bernie Lilavois was given two yellow cards for dissent and protesting in consecutive fashion during the first quarter. New Jersey was given a total of five penalties in the match, but three of their five were called in the fourth quarter. The three penalties went against player/coach Omid Namazi. He received red card after the game for foul language. Both teams were called for 15 fouls in the match.

Geison was the first and only player to score in the first half. New Jersey led 2-0 after his goal in the second quarter. The goal was assisted by Tim O'Neil.

The Cougars came back in the third quarter with a two-point score in the third quarter by rookie Lee Williams. Williams' goal came at the 5:10 mark of the third and was ruled an unassisted score. The rookie forward dropped back to the defensive side of field for the contest, he also registered a block in the win. Cougars' midfielder Nelson Santana lit up the scoreboard for the ninth time this season with a two-point goal at the 8:03 mark in the third. His score was assisted by Evan McNeley.

Dan Antoniuk answered the Cougars two score rally with two of his own at the end of the third. Antoniuk's second goal was a power play score. New Jersey was one of four in power play conversions. The Cougars were shut out, 0-3 in power play opportunities.

The game winning goal was scored by Tovar at the 4:59 mark of the fourth quarter. "Qeeks" lobbed a three pointer from between midfield and the scoring zone, the ball floated just beyond the reach of Bayard Elfvin for the score.

Sanaldo was brilliant in goal. He saved 15 of 18 shots faced in his return to the lineup. Elfvin saved 13 of 16 faced in his return to Stockton Arena. Elfvin was also called for an intentional hand ball in second quarter. The Cougars were not able to convert on the ensuing power play chance.

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