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Benefield: Santa Rosa Junior College men's soccer team scoring fast and frequently

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The Santa Rosa Junior College men’s soccer team was 11 games into the season last year when the Bear Cubs tallied their 17th goal of the year. They hit that mark with three minutes left to play Wednesday in their home opener, defeating the visiting Contra Costa Comets 12-0. It was their second game of the season.

“We just put them under early. We scored in the first minute and then we were relentless. Guys are hungry,” Bear Cubs coach Marty Kinahan said.

They might be a bit sated now. They scored eight goals before halftime. They emptied their bench and still they scored.

Sure, Contra Costa may not be the best litmus test, but the Bear Cubs, awash in local talent, looked like an offensive machine Wednesday afternoon. And they strung passes together like it was the midway point in the season, not the start.

They scored their first goal 67 seconds into the match, when freshman Adrian Fontanelli streaked alone up the middle and sent a left-footed shot into the upper corner. It was 4-0 with just 15 minutes gone and it was 8-0 at halftime.

“We are pretty offensive,” Kinahan said in what is perhaps the understatement of the week.

When the goals started to mount, Kinahan instructed his players to focus on crosses and try to score on headers.

“They kept playing,” he said of the Comets. “We are here to play; I’m not going to tell you not to score. That’s insulting when you don’t score when you have the chance.”

The only time the Comets seemed to stop the Bear Cubs was during an official water break in the 24th minute, when both teams took a break from the heat. It might have provided the longest break in first-half scoring.

The win takes the Bear Cubs to 2-0 on the season and was the first of a four-game home stand. The team hosts Canada College at 4 p.m. Friday before taking on Las Positas and Skyline next week.

Winning the home opener is more than just a notch in the win-loss column.

“It’s massive,” Kinahan said before the game. “It sets the tone for the season.”

What has also been massive is this team’s offensive firepower.

The Bear Cubs unloaded on the Hawks of Everygreen Valley, beating them 5-0 in Tahoe Saturday. In that one, the Bear Cubs scored three goals in the first half and walked away with a 5-0 shutout courtesy of two goals from freshman Carlos Lemus, who prepped at Elsie Allen, and three assists and a goal from Alan Sanchez, who graduated from Ridgway High. Sophomore Rigo Barragan, a Windsor High grad, added two assists and a goal, while Calvin Perkins, a freshman from Montgomery, scored once.

They outshot the Hawks 16-8.

“We are fun to watch. We go forward really well,” Kinahan said.

Do they ever.

“It’s exciting,” said freshman Adrian Fontanelli, a standout in his prep career at Rancho Cotate. “It’s the best thing ever, man. I’m so happy on the field, everyone is just happy. It’s contagious.”

The same could be said for goal scoring when they just come in waves.

“It’s lots of fun. The chemistry we have together is just getting things done,” Lemus said. He’s got four goals in two games and he scored twice in a span of 90 seconds Wednesday. Lots of fun is right.

The Bear Cubs’ roster is a veritable who’s who from prep soccer in recent years: brothers Brian and Alan Sanchez, Alan Soto, Carlos Villanueva, Sergio Valenzuela, Saul Valencia, Derek Neidlinger, ... it’s almost embarrassing.

“We’re really local,” Kinahan said. “We are pretty young, freshman dominant.”

Kinahan tried to temper excitement Wednesday. The Contra Costa Comets, with a short roster and what may or may not have been a natural field player suited up in goal, are likely not the best gauge of where the Bear Cubs stand at this point in the season.

“It’s hard to get a real barometer from that,” Kinahan said, albeit allowing this: “It’s all positive.”

So deep are the Bear Cubs that players are still scrambling for playing time or starting roles.

That is showing up in the intensity and work rate.

“We’ve got a lot of numbers and everybody is playing for their spot still,” Kinahan said.

Fontanelli acknowledged as much.

“Every position is very deep,” he said. “We’ve got two, three guys every position and everyone is really good. Our level is high. It’s impressive.”

Last season, the Bear Cubs went 10-8-1 and 5-3-1 in the Big 8 Conference. This team has the goods to do much better, Kinahan said before Wednesday’s game.

“We definitely can contest for conference,” he said. “That is the only goal I’m thinking of.”

Well, that and perhaps the 12 his team scored with ease Wednesday.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud, “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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