Daniel Rendon's go-ahead header goal pushes Aztecs Men's Soccer to rally past Mesa CC in Region Semifinals

Sophomore Daniel Rendon (Tucson Magnet HS) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the eventual go-ahead goal in the 78th minute. The No. 3 seeded Aztecs defeated No. 2 Mesa Community College 3-1 to advance to the NJCAA Region I, Division II Finals on Saturday at No. 1 Phoenix College. Game time is TBA. Photo by Raymond Suarez
Sophomore Daniel Rendon (Tucson Magnet HS) celebrates with his teammates after scoring the eventual go-ahead goal in the 78th minute. The No. 3 seeded Aztecs defeated No. 2 Mesa Community College 3-1 to advance to the NJCAA Region I, Division II Finals on Saturday at No. 1 Phoenix College. Game time is TBA. Photo by Raymond Suarez

The Pima Community College men's soccer team (10-2-2) was in a battle at Mesa Community College (12-4-1) on Tuesday in the NJCAA Region I, Division II Semifinals.

  • The No. 3 seeded Aztecs trailed 1-0 but rallied off three unanswered goals to beat No. 2 seeded Mesa Community College 3-1. The Aztecs advance to Saturday's NJCAA Region I, Division II Finals game.
  • With the game tied at 1-1, sophomore Ernesto Osornio (Ironwood HS) set up a corner kick and found his target in sophomore Daniel Rendon (Tucson Magnet HS), who headed the ball into the goal for the score putting the Aztecs up 2-1 with 12:20 left in regulation.
  • "I told Ernesto (at halftime) that they were leaving me open in the corners and thankfully they left me open in the second half and I was able to get into that space, flick it back and we got the goal," Rendon said. "They (Mesa) got that first goal but we knew what we had to do. We took care of their important players and we got the job done."
  • The Aztecs trailed 1-0 but got a spark from sophomore Brian Vu (Rincon HS), who tied the game with 2:51 left in the half with an assist from sophomore Nicholas Bianchi (Pinnacle HS).
  • The Aztecs carried the momentum into the second half as they created more opportunities and put the Thunderbirds on defense for much of the half.
  • "It was a weird goal because it was bouncing around but luckily it fell to my foot and I wanted to take my chance to tie the game. It was a big goal for us and I'm just happy we ended up getting the win," Vu said. "This is a big boost for us because its one of those wins that sets you up for success in the future and I think this win today is going to take us further to the final and then nationals if we make it."
  • Bianchi added an insurance goal with 24 seconds left in the game with an assist from sophomore Jacob Garcia (Ironwood Ridge HS).
  • Freshman Cristian Sattin finished the game with eight saves.

The Aztecs will play at No. 1 seeded Phoenix College on Saturday. Game time is TBA. The Aztecs fell to the Bears in last year's Region I, Division II Final in penalty kicks. The teams played to a 2-2 on Sept. 17.

Pima goals: Brian Vu (Nicholas Bianchi) 43rd minute; Daniel Rendon (Ernesto Osornio) 78th minute; Bianchi (Jacob Garcia) 89th minute.