The odds weren’t just long. They bordered on impossible.
Considering the grand stage, the dynastic opposition and the swamp-like conditions, Odin Rosten was bold to take on three defenders on his own in the waning stages of the CCCAA state final.
But that’s what made the moment unforgettable.
The sophomore attacker scored both goals, including the game-winning goal with four minutes to play, to lift the Oxnard College men’s soccer team to the state championship with a 2-1 win over Mt. San Antonio College in a driving rainstorm Sunday night at American River College in Sacramento.
“Odin had an Odin game,” said sophomore Danny Orozco. “He does things that only Odin can do.”
The St. Bonaventure High graduate was named state tournament MVP as the Condors (22-1-1) delivered their second state championship by finally beating California Community College’s men’s soccer dynasty.
“That’s just a little sneak peak of what Odin can do,” Oxnard goalkeeper Efrain Perez said. “He’s just coming up so clutch this season. It’s just unbelievable what we does on that field.”
Mt. SAC (17-7-2) had won six of the previous 13 state titles and handed visiting Oxnard its only loss of the season, 3-0 on Sept. 27.
“Since we went to Mt. SAC and had a pretty terrible night in September, we have not lost,” Oxnard head coach Ross Greaney said. “For the guys to take a butt-kicking like that and improve and grow from it and take on all the challenges that came their way … it’s just an amazing achievement by a special group of guys.”
With the match knotted 1-1 in the 86th minute, Rosten split two defenders, cut inside on his right foot past a third defender and drove a low shot into the bottom corner.
“I had a long ball played to me,” Rosten said. “The (defender) caught up to me and I kind of pushed him off the ball so I could get a little space. Another guy came towards me and I just went right in between them and slotted it into that bottom corner.
“I didn’t know if that skill was going to work. It ended up working perfectly, setting me up to take that shot, get that winning goal and get that state championship.”
The degree of difficulty on the move was dialed to 11 by the sloppy, soggy conditions, which made changing directions and controlling the ball exceedingly difficult as the game progressed.
“It was very difficult,” Rosten said. “Everyone was slipping all over the place. Long balls wouldn’t go how we wanted them to. Short passes wouldn’t go how we wanted them to. … Dribbling was a pain. I couldn’t dribble how I usually do, but we made it work.”
Rosten gave Oxnard the lead with a 22-yard rocket in the 22nd minute, charging through midfield before letting fly just before the Mt. SAC penalty area and driving a shot into the upper-left corner of the net.
“Odin is one of those players that you just love to have on your team and hate to play against,” Oxnard defender Enrique Tiscareno said.
The emotion of the moment grabbed him as he celebrated and he lost his footing, falling over into the mud.
“I lost it when I saw it go in,” Rosten said. “I celebrated a little too hard.”
After controlling the match for much of the first half, Oxnard let the lead slip in the final moments of the half.
Mt. SAC forward Alex Mendez equalized from the penalty spot, slotting a low shot into the bottom left corner after winning a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time.
The Condors used the halftime break to recover.
“That would have crushed teams without that kind of camaraderie,” Greaney said.
The conditions were so bad, Greaney considered changing his team’s possession style in warmups.
“I was not confident going into the game, because the conditions could very easily have disrupted our style of play, which is building out of the back and passing,” Greaney said. “Looking at the 18-yard box, it was just disgusting.
“In the end, I thought (changing) would just do more damage. It would hurt us more. We stuck with it. It wasn’t perfect. We made errors, but we played.”
The conditions changed how goalkeeper Perez played one of the biggest moments of the match.
“I had to stay deeper on my line,” Perez said. “When I would try to move sideways, I would slip. I had to take that into consideration.”
After a turnover led to a three-on-one opportunity for Mt. SAC in the 76th minute, the Hueneme High graduate chose to stay on his line, rather than come and risk slipping.
The result was a huge point-blank save Perez made with his right leg that kept the match tied 1-1 and set the stage for Rosten’s heroics.
“It was unbelievable because I knew the game was on the line,” Perez said.
Oxnard players celebrated by tossing their head coach in the air and dancing arm-in-arm in a circle around the trophy.
Oxnard College men’s soccer coach Ross Greaney is tossed in the air in celebration by his players after the Condors won the CCCAA state championship Sunday night with a 2-1 win over Mt. San Antonio College in Sacramento. “It doesn’t get old,” Greaney said. https://t.co/sIcNERizki pic.twitter.com/DdAS6inZTf
“When they were throwing me up in the air, I was screaming, ‘You better not drop me,’ ” Greaney said. “But no one could hear me (over their chanting).”
It was a state championship won by a roster entirely comprised of Ventura County talent.
“The city of Oxnard is soccer crazy,” Greaney said. “The whole community of Ventura County is going bananas for the World Cup right now. These guys are not just riding that wave, but they’re a part of it.
“The coaches and the programs throughout Ventura County do a really good job of preparing players. I try my hardest to get to know everybody and see who is going to end up being a community college athlete.”
The 17 players who started and came on as substitutes were comprised of players from Channel Islands (five), Hueneme (four), Westlake (two), Buena, Camarillo, Oxnard, Rio Mesa, St. Bonaventure and Thousand Oaks highs.
“We have the best talent from Ventura County,” Rosten said. “Now we’ve shown we have the best talent in California. This team, they have the heart, they have the will to push through all the adversity.”
Greaney called his all-local roster “an advantage. “
“I know for a fact that the togetherness of these guys, so many of them have known each other since they were kids, that togetherness has gotten us through a lot of stuff,” Greaney said.
To the final moments of the final match of the season and beyond.
Joe Curley covers college sports for The Star. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more coverage, follow @vcscolleges on Twitter.
Rosten leads Oxnard College men's soccer team to state championship – VC Star
The odds weren’t just long. They bordered on impossible.