COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College men's soccer team made a strong statement to kick off Orange Empire Conference play with a 2-1 victory over defending conference champion Fullerton College on Wednesday at the OCC Soccer Complex.
It was the sixth straight win for the Pirates (7-1-1, 1-0) and Wednesday's battle with the Hornets (4-4-1, 0-1) showed that OCC can play in either direction and prove effective.
Coast scored first in the 22nd minute when John Cisneros took a long pass from midfielder Jake Whitcomb, beat his defender one-on-one and hooked a shot past charging goalkeeper Anthony Rodriguez to put Coast up, 1-0.
Fullerton showed fight throughout the final 12 minutes of the first half, but the Pirate defense, led by sophomore Cayden Bonner, was up to the challenge and the Pirates took a 1-0 lead into the half.
The Hornets wasted no time to even things up as a turnover by the Pirates led to a scoring opportunity for FC's Kentrell Dorsey, who ripped a shot past OCC goalkeeper Pablo Ramirez to even the score at 1. It was the first goal Ramirez has allowed all season, a span of 360 minutes.
A foul near the OCC scoring area gave Coast a free kick opportunity and Julian Madrigal managed to hook his shot attempt around the defensive wall of the Hornets and into the back of the net in the 59th minute, put the Pirates up, 2-1.
From there, it was shut-down time and the Pirate defense was up to the challenge. Fullerton had a couple of decent chances, but the shots missed their marks.
Ramirez and Rodriguez each had four saves for the afternoon.
Coast will return to action on Friday at Cypress College, beginning at 3 p.m. OCC's next home match will take place on Tuesday against Irvine Valley, also at 3 p.m.