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2014 season

Cuyamaca tops Palomar in conference opener

RANCHO SAN DIEGO (9-30-2014) -- Palomar's men's soccer team dropped its Pacific Coast Athletic Conference opener at Cuyamaca 3-1 on Tuesday on the Coyotes' pitch.

Miguel Pineda scored the Comets' goal on a penalty kick.

Goalkeeper Daniel Vasquez had five saves for Palomar (3-3-1 overall).

The Comets had won two straight games and three of their last four.

Salado's two goals lift Comets past Rams

SAN MARCOS (9-26-2014) -- Zack Salado tallied two goals Friday at Minkoff Field, lifting Palomar to its second men's soccer victory in two days, a 5-1 non-conference win over Victor Valley.

Omar Orozco (left) scored on a rebound in the fifth minute and Oscar Meija assisted Salado on his first goal in the eighth minute, giving the Comets an early 2-0 lead. The Rams never recovered.

Edsel Corcuera (right) hit on an unassisted goal from long range on the left side in the 21st minute, and Salado's second goal, also scored unassisted from long range on the left side in the 60th minute, put Palomar up 4-0.

Victor Valley finally answered with its only goal of the game in the 77th minute as the Rams got on the scoreboard. Miguel Pieda tacked on an insurance goal for the Comets in the 80th minute off Luis Escoto's assist.

Palomar's defense smothered the Victor Valley attack most of the day. Daniel Vasquez, who had one save in the first half, and Steven Ross, who recorded four saves in the second half, combined on the near-shutout.

The Comets went back over .500 at 3-2-1. The Rams are 1-7-2.

Balbuena, Kusunoki lift Comets over Tartars

SAN MARCOS (9-25-2014) -- Candido Balbuena (left) and Chris Kusunoki (right) each scored two goals on Thursday and Palomar evened its men's soccer record at 2-2-1 by defeating El Camino Compton Center 4-3 at Minkoff Field.

Kusunoki gave the Comets a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute when he rebounded off a shot by Balbuena.

After the Tartars tied the game, Balbuena answered with back-to-back unassisted goals in the 39th and 46th minutes as Palomar went in front by two goals, at 3-1, in the first minute of the second half.

El Camino Compton Center again closed the gap to a goal, this time on a penalty kick.

Kusunoki's second goal of the afternoon on a header in the 60th minute gave Palomar another two-goal edge at 4-2 and the Comets made the lead stand up even though the Tartars added the day's final goal in the 70th minute.

Steven Ross and Daniel Vasquez combined for nine saves in goal for Palomar. Ross had four saves in the first half. Vasquez' five saves came in the second half.

Palomar lost on the road to undefeated Santa Ana 8-0 on Wednesday when two players missed the van trip after arriving late, and two others received red cards, leaving the Comets two men short for most of the game.

Palomar's goal barrage nets first 2014 victory

SAN MARCOS (9-20-2014) -- After a tie 15 days ago and a tough loss on Friday, Palomar buried visiting Cosumnes River College from Sacramento in a barrage of goals for its first victory of the men's soccer season on Saturday.

The Comets defeated the Hawks 5-3 at Minkoff Field as Chris Kusonoki and Omar Orozco (left) each scored two goals and Oscar Mejia added one goal.

Goalkeeper Steven Ross contributed eight saves.

"The team is constantly improving. They showed a lot of determination and drive today," said Palomar assistant David Whiddon, who coached the Comets in place of head coach Carlos Hernandez.

ABOVE: Zack Salado controls the ball for Palomar against West Hills Lamoore on Friday at Minkoff Field. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Candido Balbuena, who scored the only Palomar goal in a 2-1 loss

Lemoore runs record to 7-1 at Comets' expense

SAN MARCOS (9-19-2014) -- Palomar played its first men's soccer game in 14 days on Friday.

The time off didn't appear to be good to the Comets.

It also didn't help that they were facing an opponent, West Hills Lemoore, that was playing its eighth game of the season, compared with only the second game for Palomar.

 The Golden Eagles, who haven't lost in 53 days, scored on a header in the 64th minute to break a 1-1 tie and turn back the Comets 2-1 for their seventh straight victory.

West Hills Lemoore is one goal away from being undefeated and hasn't lost since dropping its season opener 2-1 to 2013 Northern Calfornia semifinalist Santa Rosa back on Aug. 27.

Trailing 1-0, Palomar had tied the non-conference game in the 22nd minute when Candido Balbuena scored from 35 yards out.

The Comets will be home again on Saturday when they host Cosumnes College from Sacramento at 2 p.m.

Eduardo Calleja controls the ball as he scoes the Comets' goal in the 69th minute. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Comets battle to 1-1 tie with Norco in opener

SAN MARCOS (9-05-2014) -- Palomar's freshman-dominated team opened its men's soccer season by battling to a 1-1 tie with non-confernce opponent Norco on Friday afternoon at Minkoff Field.

Nestor Navia gave the visiting Mustangs a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute when he lofted a free kick over the heads of Palomar defenders and goalkeeper Steven Ross into the net.

That's the way it stayed until the 69th minute, when forward Eduardo Calleja, a freshman forward from San Marcos High School, scored on an unassisted goal into the left side of the net after he took the ball in from 20 yards out.

Assistant coach Dave Whiddon is coaching the Comets in the absence of head coach Carlos Hernandez. Palomar had only four sophomores in uniform Friday.

Norco is 0-1-2.

The Comets will return to action on Wednesday, Sept. 17 when they travel to Santa Ana College.

Brian Paleo, the Comets' top player last season, battles for the ball in competition of two opposing No. 10s against Imperial Valley during a 3-3 tie with the Arabs at Minkoff Field last Nov. 1. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Palomar opens against Norco at home Friday

SAN MARCOS (9-05-2014) -- Palomar will kick off its 2014 men's soccer season with a 4 p.m. home non-conference match against Norco College at Minkioff Field on Sept. 5 as Carlos Hernandez begins his 20th season as the Comets' head  coach..

Palomar will play four of its first six games at Minkoff Field leading uyp to their Pacific Coast Athletic Conference opener on Sept. 30 at Cuyamaca College.

The Comets have won six conference championships under Hernandez, the most recent in 2009, and also havenarrowly missed recent conference championships in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010, finishing in second place each of those years.

Coming off a disappointing season a year ago, Hernandez has brought in formerly highly successful Rancho Buena Vista High School coach David Whiddon (see below) as an assistant for the Comets.

PC adds ex-RBV coach Whiddon as assistant

SAN MARCOS (7-17-2014) -- David Whiddon, the long-time successful boys soccer coach at Rancho Buena Vista High School, joins Carlos Hernandez' staff this season as assistant coach.

Whiddon, originally from London, England, was a two-sport athlete (soccer and track) in high school and played college soccer at Foothill Community College in Los Altos Hills and at Eastern Washington University. He played two seasons for the San Jose Earthquakes reserve team.

He's spent the past 29 years as a high school varsity and club soccer coach in San Diego County. He's traveled to soccer clinics in England, The Netherlands, Germany and Brazil to continue his coachig educastion and holds an NSCAA Premier Coaching License.

His Rancho Buena Vista teams won multiple league championships and advanced to the CIF San Diego Section playoffs 20 out of 22 years.

Whiddon regularly sent players from his RBV program into college and pro ranks, including sons Trevor and William. Trevor Whiddon received a soccer scholarship to NCAA Division I Cal State Fullerton and later played professionally with the Los Angeles Blues in the USL Pro League. William Whiddon played on U.S. National Youth teams through the U18 level and earned a scholarship to Concordia University of Irvine. Both were All-CIF San Diego Section selections for the Longhorns.

In 1995, Whiddon was recipient of the CIF Model Coach of the Year award and was North County Conference Coach of the Year in 2008.

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.

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