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Men's Soccer



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2015 Schedule/Results  |  2015 Roster  |  2015 Stats  |  Coaching Staff

2015 Season ...

ABOVE: Palomar's Juan Garcia (left) battles MiraCosta's Jonathan Palacios for control of the ball in the Comets' 2-1 victory over the rival Spartans on Friday at Minkoff Field. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Austin Rizzo, who scored the winning goal in the 88th minute. BELOW RIGHT: Aaron Ruth, who has perhaps the best baseball name of any soccer player anywhere. He led the Comets' defensive effort which shut down the Spartans

Palomar tops rival MiraCosta 2-1 in finale

SAN MARCOS (11-13-2015) -- Palomar finished its men's soccer season on a huge upside on Friday afternoon at Minkoff Field by sweeping rival MiraCosta.

Austin Rizzo scored the winning goal off an assist by Elijah Lopez in the 88th minute, giving the Comets a 2-1 victory over the Spartans.

Rizzo's goal broke a 1-1 halftime tie. MiraCosta went in front late in the first half, but the Comets answered with an unassisted goal by Lalo Calleja.

"(Rizzo's goal) was a great individual effort," Palomar coach Dave Whiddon said, who took over the Comets' program during the off-season and saw his team barely fall short in their previous two games when it had an opportunity to finish the season over .500 .

"This is a great win for the program and will really help in recruiting for next year," Whiddon added. "It was another tremendous team effort, the defense led by Aaron Ruth was solid and the midfield play by Juan Garcia was outstanding."

Palomar's goalkeepers combined for 11 saves, five by Autry Hailey and six by Pierce Cole.

In the first game of the afternoon at Minkoff Field, Palomar's women's team defeated MiraCosta 1-0.

 Hailey comes up big, Clay scores but PC falls

SAN MARCOS (11-10-2015) -- Goalkeeper Autry Hailey played what coach Dave Whiddon described as "a great game" on Tuesday at Minkoff Field, but the Palomar men's soccer team dropped a hard-fought 2-1 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference decision to San Diego Mesa.

Hailey (left) had seven saves during the afternoon.

Josh Clay scored a team-leading eighth goal of the season unassisted for the Comets (8-12, 4-7).

Palomar had three scoring chances from 6 yards out over the final 45 minutes but couldn't convert.

"We dominated the second half, but we couldn't finish," Whiddon said. "All season we have competed and have never given up. We still have a strong team spirit and are looking forward to the MiraCosta game on Friday."

The Comets (8-12, 4-7) will close out their schedule by hosting the rival Spartans on Friday at 3 p.m.

Comets play Knights tough but lose 3-1

SAN DIEGO (11-06-2015) -- Palomar, coming off two straight shutout wins, lost 3-1 to host San Diego City College in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference men's soccer game on Friday afternoon.

Josh Clay (left) scored the Comet's goal off an Austin Rizzo assist.

The Comets trailed by 1-0 until the 70th minute. The Knights then scored two goals in a five-minute span.

"It was a strong team performance until we gave up those two goals," coach Dave Whiddon said. "The score doesn't reflect how we played."

Whiddon singled out Victor Gonzalez (right) and Lalo Calleja for standout performances. Goalkeepers Autry Hailey and Pierce Cole each had two saves.

2nd shutout in a row for Hailey, Cole in goal

PALM DESERT (11-03-2015) -- Palomar inched closer to .500 in men's soccer on Tuesday, turning back non-conference opponent College of the Desert 2-0 at Boone Field for its second straight shutout win.

Autry Hailey (left), who played the first half at goalkeeper, and Pierce Cole (right), who played the second half, combined for eight saves for the Comets. Hailey and Cole each had four saves.

Aaron Ruth scored the game's first goal, assisted by Juan Garcia. The second goal was scored by Aaron Schroeder, assisted by Jason Hirwa.

"It was a nice team effort," Palomar coach Dave Whidden said. "We had strong defensive play from Victor Gonzalez and Aaron Ruth, and good offensive contribution from Ivan Curiel."

The Comets (8-10, 4-5) can finish a game over .500 on the season by winning its last three games from San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa and MiraCosta.

It could have been the final time Palomar and COD met in a non-conference game. The Roadrunners are expected to join the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference in 2016-17, along with San Bernardino Valley College.

PC downs IVC; 2 goals each for Hirwa, Jimenez

SAN MARCOS (10-30-2015) -- Behind two goals each from Jeyson Hirwa (left) and Bryan Jimenez (right), the latter with his first scores of the season, Palomar turned back visiting Imperial Valley 5-0 on Friday at Minkoff Field in Pacific Coast Athletic Conference men's soccer.

Sean Fraser had the other goal. Elijah Lopez contributed two assists, while Vkictor Gonzalez, Aaron Schroeder and Josh Clay had one assist apiece.

Autry Haley and Pierce Cole each had two assists in combining for the shutout.

"Aaron Schroeder came off the bench and reallh lifted the team with his work rate and the way he executed the game plan," coach Dave Whiddon said.

Cuyamaca hands visiting Comets a 4-0 loss

RANCHO SAN DIEGO (10-27-2015) -- Cuyamaca College, which is in a three-way battle with first-place and state No. 4-ranked Southwestern and MiraCosta for first place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, defeated visiting Palomar 4-0 on Tuesday.

Autry Hailey and Pierce Cole each had four saves in goal for the Comets.

The Coyotes led only 1-0 at halftime.

Cuyamaca advanced to 10-3-4 on the season and 4-1-2 in the PCAC. Palomar is 6-10 and 3-5.

Palomar's Austin Rizzo (No. 11) avoids Jesus Holguin of state No. 7-ranked Southwestern near the goal on Friday. Rizzo passed off to Josh Clay (below), who scored the Comets only goal of the afternoon. -- Action photo by Hugh Cox. Clay's photo by Melinda Finn

State No. 7 Jaguars (11-1-3) edge Comets 2-1

SAN MARCOS (10-23-2015) -- Palomar continued to play well only to lose against ranked opponents on Friday as the Comets dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to state No. 8 Southwestern at Minkoff Field.

The defending Pacific Coast Athletic Conference champion and first-place Jaguars, under former Palomar women's coach Cem Tont, remain unbeaten in the conference at 6-0-1 and are 11-1-3 on the season. The Comets are 3-4 in the PCAC and 6-9 on the year.

Josh Clay scored the Palomar goal, assisted by Austin Rizzo. Autry Hailey had six saves in goal.

Coach Dave Whiddon singled out the defensive play of Aaron Ruth and Lalo Vasquez.

"We're so close to having success in our games," Whiddon added. "We'll keep working and improving."

PC loses halftime lead and game to MC 2-1

OCEANSIDE (10-20-2015) -- Palomar took a 1-0 halftime lead on a goal by captain Victor Gonzalez off Jeyson Hirwa's assist in the 68th minute, but host MiraCosta came from behind in the second half to hand the Comets a 2-1 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference men's soccer loss on Tuesday.

The Spartans scored goals in the 73rd and 76th minutes.

"We had great defensive efforts from Aaron Ruth and Lalo Vasquez," coach Dave Whiddon said.

Palomar allowed MiraCosta only three shots on goal for the afternoon. Autry Hailey stopped two of the Spartans' goal attempts. Pierce Cole had the other save.

The Comets are 6-8 on the season, 3-3 in conference.

Comets top Olympians with 20 minutes left

SAN DIEGO (10-16-2015) -- In what coach Dave Whiddon described as "our best game of the season," Jeyson Hirwa (left) scored two goals and the Comets tallied the game-winner in the 70th minunte (wit two minutes remaining) as Palomar knocked off San Diego Mesa 3-2 under the lights on Friday at Merrill Douglas Stadium.

The Comets (3-2 in conference) also got a goal from Juan Garcia and assists by Austin Rizzo, Lalo Calleja and Noah Kelly. Goalkeeper Pierce Cole (right) made two outstanding saves, and saved a penalty kick in the 90th minute to preserve the win.

Palomar led 2-0, but Mesa came back to tie the game 2-2, setting the stage for the game-winner.

"It was a great win in a challenging and intense match," Whiddon said.

Mesa came into the game with a 9-3-1 overall record. Palomar is 6-7 overall but has played four straight strong games -- three wins and a one-goal defeat to the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Rio Hondo.

Comets dominate 2nd half to defeat Knights

SAN MARCOS (10-13-2015) -- Breaking a halftime tie, Palomar pushed across three unanswered goals in the second half to down San Diego City College 3-1 in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference men's soccer game on Tuesday at Minkoff Field.

Noah Kelly, Juan Garcia (left) and Elijah Lopez (right) scored the goals for the Comets (5-7, 2-2 in conference).

Victor Gonzalez, Lalo Vasquez and Josh Clay contributed assists.

Autry Hailey had five savesand Pierce Cole four saves in goal.

"In the first half we struggled and could have been down two goals," coach Dave Whiddon said. "In the second half we came out focused and with intensity and played very well."

Palomar has won two of its last three games, sandwiched around a 3-2 loss to state No. 1-ranked Rio Hondo, the only undefeated team in the state, in a non-conference game last Friday.

PC plays best game but loses 3-2 to No. 1 team

PICO RIVERA (10-09-2015) - Palomar gave Rio Hondo, ranked No. 1 in the state by the California Community College Men's Soccer Coaches Association, a major scare before finally losing 3-2 on Friday at Smith Park.

"Despite the loss it was the best we've played all season," Palomar coach Dave Whiddon said. "We're contiujing to improve and have really come together as a team."

The Comets' goals were scored by Lalo Vasquez and Josh Clay.

Whiddon also praised the play of Juan Garcia. "He really competed and excelled today," he said.

Pierce Cole had four saves in goal. Autry Hailey had five.

The Roadrunners advanced to 10-0-2 on the season. The Comets are 4-7.

Team captain Gonzalez, Comets win at IVC

IMPERIAL (10-06-2015) -- Coach Dave Whiddon singled out team captain Victor Gonzalez for his leadership role and Palomar broke out of a men's soccer slump with a 4-1 road victory over Imperial Valley on Tuesday.

"We got outstanding play from Victor Gonzalez," Whiddon said. "He was an inspirational leader."

The Comets, who are now 4-6 on the year and 1-2 in conference, broke a 1-1 halftime tie with second-half goals by Jeyson Hirwa, Ralph Soriano and Gonzalez.

Lalo Calleja (right) talled Palomar's first-half goal.

Autry Hailey and Pierce Cole each had three saves in goal.

Cuyamaca turns back Palomar by 3-0 score

SAN MARCOS (10-2-2015) -- Cuyamaca turned back Palomar in a 3-0 men's score match-up on Friday at Minkoff Field.

The Comets got four saves from Pierce Cole and five from Autry Hailey in goal.

"I thought we had a great effort. We actually played well. We have to cut down on the mental mistakes," coach Dave Whiddon said.

"The score doesn't reflect how close the game was."

Palomar's Jeysen Hirwa gets off a shot on goal in the Comets' 4-0 conference loss to host Southwestern on Tuesday at DeVore Stadium in Chula Vista. -- Photo by Russell Scoffin, Southwestern College

Tont's 7-1-2 Jags blank injury-ridden Comets

CHULA VISTA (9-29-2015) -- The Palomar men's soccer team ran into another buzzsaw on Tuesday as the Comets dropped their Pacific Coast Athletic Conference opener to Southwestern 4-0 at the Jaguars' DeVore Stadium.

The Comets, playing without four injured starters, hung with the defending conference champions for the first 45 minutes, trailing 1-0 at the half, but wore down.

"It's tough. We're young and not very deep," Palomar coach Dave Whiddon said.

Pierce Cole had six saves in goal in the first half. Autry Hailey had seven saves in the second half.

The Jaguars, who are 7-1-2 on the season, are coached by Cem Tont, who was the Comets' longtime head women's coach. Palomar is 3-5 on the year.

Comeback too little, too late vs. No. 2 Chaffey

SAN MARCOS (9-24-2015) -- Palomar played visiting Chaffey, which came in with the No. 2 power ranking in Southern California and No. 7 in the state, to a 1-1 standoff in the second half of the teams' men's soccer game on Thursday at Minkoff Field.

But it was a matter of too little two late as the Panthers won 4-1 to remain unbeaten for 2015 at 7-0-2.

Victor Gonzalez (left) scored the Comets' goal off Aaron Ruth's assist. Pierce Cole had 11 saves in goal.

Palomar drops to 3-4 on the season.

Host Rams go to 7-1 on year by beating PC

VICTORVILLE (9-22-2015) -- Visiting Palomar dropped a 5-1 non-conference decision to Victor Valley in men's soccer on Tuesday.

Ralph Soriano (right) scored the Comets' goal.

Goalkeepers Autry Hailey (5 saves in the first half) and Pierce Cole (8 saves in the second half) combined for 13 saves.

The Rams advanced to 7-1 on the season.

The Comets are 3-3.

Comets' 3-game win streak ends vs. 4-0 SBCC

SANTA BARBARA (9-11-2015) -- Palomar's three-game men's soccer win streak came to a halt Friday afternoon when the Comets dropped a 4-1 non-conference decision on the road to state powerhouse Santa Barbara City College.

The Vaqueros ran their record to 4-0 on the season, while the Comets fell to 3-2.

Josh Clay scored for Palomar in the 82nd minute, assisted by Kyle Gemmell. Pierce Cole had eight saves in goal.

"I thought we did a good job against a good opponent," coach Dave Whiddon said. We'll continue to improve."

Comets jump out 2-0, win to run record to 3-1

AZUSA (9-08-2015) -- Goals by Jeyson Hirwa (left) in the 27th minute and Mark Mallari in the 48th minute put Palomar two goals in front of Citrus on Tuesday, and the Owls never could catch up as the Comets won 2-1 in a non-conference men's soccer match-up at Citrus College Stadium.

"It was a great team effort," coach Dave Whiddon said after his team advanced to 3-1 with its third straight win. "The winning goal by Hirwa was a special play. We got solid play by Junior Velazquez and Ivan Curiel on defense."

Austin Rizzo assisted on Hirwa's goal and Lalo Vasquez had an assist on Mallari's goal. The game remained 2-0 until Arturo Bueso finally got Citrus on the board in the 68th minute.

That turned out to be all the scoring in a defensive matchup. Led by Velazquez and Curiel, Palomar's defense kept the Owls from getting off a shot on goal against first-half goalkeeper Pierce Cole. Citrus managed two goal attempts against Autry Hailey in the second half.

Palomar wins on road behind 2 Ciochetto goals

NORCO (9-04-2015) -- After splitting its first games at home, Palomar's men's soccer squad went on the road on Friday and continued to improve as the Comets turned back Norco 4-1 in non-conference action.

Coach Dave Whiddon's side got a pair of goals from Joey Ciochetto, a freshman midfielder from Great Oak High School, and two assists from Austin Rizzo, a sophomore midfielder from Temecula Chaparral High.

The Comets scored in the 19th minute (Josh Clay, assisted by Rizzo), the 45th minute (Elijah Lopez, assisted by Ralph Soriano), the 68th minute (Ciochetto, assisted by Lalo Vazquez) and the 78th minute (Ciochetto, assisted by Rizzo).

Pierce Cole and Autry Hailey each had four saves in goal.

"We had a great defensive effort from the back four and a solid performance up top by Joey Ciochetto," Whiddon said.

Palomar's Austin Rizzo, a sophomore midfielder from Chaparral High School in Temecula, gives the Comets a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute as he kicks the ball through Moorpark defende Josue Vargas' legs. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Comets even record at 1-1 under Whiddon

SAN MARCOS (9-01-2015) -- Palomar evened its men's soccer record under its first-year head coach Dave Whiddon at 1-1 on Tuesday, shutting out Moorpark 3-0  in a non-conference match-up at Minkoff Field.

The Comets took a 1-0 halftime lead on Austin Rizzo's goal off Stone McElderry's assists in the 19th minute. They tacked on a pair of second-half goals, by Ralh Soriano off McElderry's second assist of the day in the 75th minute and by Lalo Vasquez on an assist by Elijah Lopez in the 80th minute.

Autry Hailey recorded three saves in goal in the first half to pick up the win. Pierce Cole had three saves in the second half for the Comets.

"We played well and are improving," Whiddon said. "I'm happy for the boys. It's nice for them to get their first win. We now have four straght road games so we'll have to continue working hard and developing our team play."

TOP PHOTO: Palomar's Mark Mallari, a freshman from Great Oak High School in Temecula, gets off a shot on goal against Santa Ana on Thursday. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Freshman goalkeeper Pierce Cole from Mission Vista High makes a save for the Comets. No. 5 is Aaron Ruth. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

New coach cites effort after powerful Dons win

SAN MARCOS (8-27-2015) -- Traditional state and national community college power Santa Ana College ruined Palomar's men's soccer debut under coach Dave Whiddon on Thursday, defeating the Comets 4-0 at Minkoff Field.

"But I was pleased with the effort," Whiddon said. "We need to cut down on mental mistakes, but overall there were more positives than negatives. Santa Ana is a top-tier team in the state so it was a good early test for us."

The young Comets have only one returnee from their 2014 side and suit out 15 freshmen, compared with only five sophomores.

Palomar got 10 goalkeeper saves, five each from freshmen Pierce Cole out of Mission Vista High School and five from Autry Hailey (Mission Hills High).

The Dons have captured two National Soccer Coaches Association of America national championships, one second-place national finish and seven state community college championships. Included in those totals are one national title and three state championships in 11 seasons under current coach Jose Vasquez.

Palomar's 2015 men's soccer season will be arriving soon with the Comets playing under coach Dave Whiddon. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Comets to open under new coach on Thursday

SAN MARCOS (8-26-2015) -- Palomar will kick off its first soccer season under new head coach Dave Whiddon on Friday when the Comets host Santa Ana College in a non-conference game at 4 p.m. at Minkoff Field. The game was moved up a day from Friday.

The Comets also will be at home on Sept. 1 vs. Moorpark in another non-conference match-up, then will play their next four games on the road.

They'll open their Pacific Coast Athletic Conference season on Sept. 29 at Southwestern.

Palomar will play a 21-game regular season.

Palomar names Whiddon as new head coach

SAN MARCOS (3-06-2015) -- Palomar has hired Dave Whiddon as its new head men's soccer coach, Athletic Director Scott Cathcart announced Friday morning.

Whiddon, who was assistant coach on longtime coach Carlos Hernandez for the Comets last season, spent 29 years as a high school varsity and club soccer coach in San Diego County.

Whiddon is the former highly-successful head coach at Rancho Buena Vista High School, where his teams won multiple league championships and advanced to the CIF San Diego Section playoffs 20 out of 22 years. He was recipient of the CIF Model Coach of the Year award and was honored as North County Conference Coach of the Year.

Born in London, England, Whiddon taught for 17 years and also was the athletic director at Rancho Buena Vista High for seven years.

When the new Vista Mission High School opened in the Vista Unified School District, he was an assistant principal and the Timberwolves' athletic director for three years until his retirement from the Vista district in 2013.He's traveled to soccer clinics in England, The Netherlands, Germany and Brazil to continue his coaching education and holds an NSCAA Premier Coaching License.


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