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Cougars Win Overtime Thriller to Advance to the Quarterfinals of US Open Tournament

December 4, 2010 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - California Cougars News Release

Stockton- On the Strength of a sudden death "golden goal" at the 9:33 mark of Overtime by new addition Ernesto Bueno, the California Cougars Professional Indoor Soccer Team notched its first win of the season with a 8-7 OT thriller over Top Notch FC of San Jose in front of an excited home crowd at the Stockton Arena.

The Cougars started the game strong and raced out to a 5-2 half time lead on the strength of 2 goals each by Nelson Santana and Chris Handsor along with a goal by Jorge Martinez. Top Notch, led by the former Cougar trio of Enrique Tovar, Vicente Figueroa and Chay Bardales, responded to a 6-3 deficit at the end of the 3rd quarter with four unanswered 4th quarter goals, led by Tovar's hat trick, to take a 7-6 lead late into the 4th. Handsor had a hat trick of his own and tied the game at 7 with 5 minutes remaining in regulation. It was then up to Bueno's first goal as a member of this year's Cougars team to seal the deal and advance the Cougars to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Tournament, where they will face the winner of the match between the Tacoma Stars and Dream Team FC.

"We put a lot of effort into this game and the young guys stepped up when needed", said Cougars Forward Chris Handsor. "Top Notch has two guys in Figueroa and Bardales who have won MLS Championships, so for us to get a win tonight shows how much we're improving and that we're ready to start winning close games like this."

The Cougars return to PASL action with a road trip next weekend to the Pacific Northwest to face the Kitsap Pumas on Friday, December 10th and the Tacoma Stars on Saturday, December 11th. The Cougars next home game is a 7:05pm tilt against arch-rival and defending PASL Champion San Diego Sockers at the Stockton Arena on Monday, December 27th.

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