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2015 Season ...
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
Rizzo, who scored the winning goal in the 88th minute.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
DESERT (11-03-2015) --
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
PC loses halftime lead and game to MC 2-1
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
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
The Comets are 6-8 on the season,
3-3 in conference.
Comets top Olympians with 20 minutes left
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
(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
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
(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
"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
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
(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
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
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
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
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'
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
"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
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
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
Visiting Palomar dropped a 5-1 non-conference decision to
Victor Valley in men's soccer on Tuesday.
Ralph Soriano (right) scored the
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
The Comets are 3-3.
Comets' 3-game win streak ends vs. 4-0 SBCC
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
Comets jump out 2-0, win to run record to
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
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
"We had a great defensive effort from the back four
and a solid performance up top by Joey Ciochetto,"
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
traveled to soccer clinics in England, The
Netherlands, Germany and Brazil to continue his
coaching education and holds an NSCAA Premier