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Vaqueros strike early in 3-0 win over Canyons

Carlos Espinoza produced a goal and assist in his first start of the season. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Carlos Espinoza produced a goal and assist in his first start of the season. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

SBCC was ready to go from the opening whistle on Tuesday night as the Vaqueros pumped in two goals in the first three minutes and went on to blank Canyons 3-0 in a men's soccer match at La Playa Stadium.

The Vaqueros (5-0-3) produced one of the prettiest goals of the year and it only took 40 seconds. Jessie Jimenez rolled the ball to Carlos Espinoza on the right wing and he dribbled outside the box and fed a perfect cross to Matthew Wilkinson, who was streaking down the middle and scored into an open net.

"I can't remember the last time we scored that quickly," said coach John Sisterson. "We came out quick off the blocks. We were moving the ball around and we got our just rewards."

Less than two minutes later, Wilkinson delivered a long pass over the top to the right side and Espinoza ripped in a shot from 16 yards. The clock said 2:38 and the Vaqueros were already up 2-0.

Espinoza, a sophomore midfielder from Simi Valley, made his first start of the year and tallied his second goal.

"We felt good right from the start," said Espinoza. "I saw Matt running into the box and got him a 1 v 1. Everything was clicking in the opening minutes. That quick 2-0 lead gave us a lot of confidence.

"We have to keep playing hard and trying to get ahead early. There's a lot of talent on this team, even the guys on the bench. Everyone on our team is capable of scoring goals."

SBCC outshot the Cougars 9-2 in the opening half. Jimenez delivered a hard shot from 31 yards in the 16th minute, forcing Justin Socarras to make a leaping save. Two minutes later, Wilkinson had another golden opportunity that was saved. At the 18:04 mark, Jimenez delivered a corner kick to Zachary Sneddon and he missed a wide-open net.

The Vaqueros made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute when Hudson Handel crossed the ball from the right side to the left and Victor Chavez dribbled past a defender and scored his team-high sixth goal from 10 yards out.

Ameyawu Muntari returned as a second-half sub after missing the last two games with an injury. He entered at 76:05 and 15 seconds later, he blasted a 30-yard shot off the crossbar. Jimenez hit the left post in the 88th minute.

The defense was solid, allowing just two shots in the first half and not giving up a shot on-goal until the 72nd minute. SBCC outshot the Cougars 16-6, including 7-3 on-goal.

"We competed well, held the ball well and did a great job of going forward," Sisterson added. "The fast start didn't surprise us."

SBCC travels to Glendale for the "Battle of the Vaqueros" on Friday at 5 p.m.