Mustangs fall to West Valley Vikings 3-0


Cathie Lawrence

Los Medanos College’s Emma Spears battles with Vikings players.

The Los Medanos College Mustangs faced off against the West Valley College Vikings Sept.12 in what should have been a friendly preseason exhibition to prepare for the upcoming conference games. After a frustrating 3-1 loss against Skyline College Sept. 5, the Mustangs were looking for a bounce back game to gain momentum going into the regular season. But it was not to be as they succumbed to the Vikings 3-1 in a game with high tension that lead to two brawls.

West Valley had the ball to start the first half, but the Mustangs brought a physical defense to try to control the tempo of the game. Through the first 20 minutes both teams showed a strong defense that held the contest scoreless.

Then at the 24th minute West Valley’s Alex Spatola broke the 0-0 tie with goal that split through the Mustang defense. From the time of that score through the rest of the first half the Vikings took control of the game, and continued to press the LMC defense. By the end of the first half West Valley’s momentum led them to a 2-0 lead after a goal in the 39th minute from their midfielder Karla Arias.

Overall, it was another physical game for the Mustangs as both teams were taking bumps and hits, creating high tension going into the second half of the match. Facing a two-goal deficit, LMC showed little momentum or energy.

“In the first half, we let them be the aggressors, and I liked how we had some fire in us. But when the other team is playing, we’re a little hesitant, ”said LMC Head Coach Zach Sullivan after the game.

Although the Stangs started with the ball, West Valley’s offense kept pressuring them and in the 55th minute of the game there was a collision between LMC center Mia Castro and West Valley’s Alejandra Nuno, causing a brawl between the two players. Both teams got into it, and the refs had to find a way to break up the madness. Once everything was cleared up, both players received yellow foul cards sparking a bit of fire on both teams to continue to compete for the rest of the game.

Around the 67th minute a corner kick by Castro drew a crowd of players around the net. LMC’s Sydney Torrano took advantage of a collision to send the ball in for the goal. The collision involved West Valley goalie McKinly Yeager and Mustang co-captain Autumn Kish, and the refs wound up overturning the goal because they believed Kish intentionally ran into the goalie.

Kish who received a yellow card on the play, voiced her opinion on the incident. “I feel like we hit each other hard,” she said. “I was just bigger than her, so she fell and I didn’t, and I got the yellow.”

After the incident, another play involving Kish and a West Valley player colliding led to a penalty kick for the Mustangs.

In the mix up after the second collision, both teams got into it again and the refs struggled to deal with the high tensions. No fouls were given for the second argument and the penalty kick proceeded.

Emma Spears handled the penalty kick for the Mustangs, and as she took a look at the placement of West Valley’s goalkeeper, she shot the ball past Yeager to shorten the deficit by one, with the Vikings leading in the 79th minute 2-1.

After a couple more high-tensioned arguments between the two teams the Mustangs found an extra spark toward the end of the second half as the defense stopped any type of offensive advantage West Valley College tried to offer. However in the, 84th minute the Vikings were able to find a hole in the LMC defense as West Valley’s Daniela Mendoza split through three Mustang defenders to score and put the Vikings up 3-1.

The game continued its physicality as both teams kept knocking each other hard, and even though the Mustangs tried to put pressure on the Viking defense the effort fell short.

Team captain Vanessa Kualapai, offered her thoughts on the two brawls. “Once you experience it, you have to be physical back, but have to be smart about it, keep composure,” she said. “I mean we’re playing soccer, we’re not out here to fight. We just need to play the game. And something like that can give us fire but we need that throughout the whole game.”

Sullivan said the team needs to work on consistent play. “For next game we need the soccer aspect to be better,” he said. Our positioning that we work on in practice hasn’t been there yet. We’ll play good for 10 minutes, then have a bad 10 minutes, and we just need to work on gaining consistency in our play.”

The next Mustangs home game will be Tuesday, Sept.19 against the Lassen College Cougars. For more information visit