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BC soccer players celebrate a 2-1 win over College of the Canyons Friday. The win clinched a Western State Conference championship, the first conference title in the program's history.

Vayron Martinez knew he had his work cut out for him when he took over a reinstated Bakersfield College men's soccer program in 2016.

Previously an assistant at LA Mission College, Martinez was tasked with building a program from scratch after the school relaunched a program that had been shuttered in the early '90s.

Hired just two months before the 2016 season started, Martinez had to quickly cobble together a roster in a community he had no previous connection to. Unsurprisingly, things started slowly, with his teams going 7-27-8 in the first two seasons.

Undeterred, Martinez maintained a clear vision of success, saying "My personal goal was to be competitive by the fifth year."

He and the Renegades jumped the gun.

Following a nine-win season in 2018, Bakersfield captured its first-ever conference championship in 2019, clinching a Western State South title with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over College of the Canyons on Friday.

After surrendering a goal near the end of the first half, the Renegades tied the score on a Matthew Solorio goal just 1:07 into the second. In the 70th minute, Christian Gonzalez blasted home an unassisted goal that proved to the conference clincher.

The Renegades now turn their attention to postseason play. Given the 14th seed in the SoCal Regional playoffs, they travel to face third-seeded Fullerton at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Despite not having any postseason experience, Martinez doesn't expect his players will be overwhelmed in a new, high-pressure environment.

"We’re a small fish in a very, very big pond," he said. "Our goal is to make it a battle, make it a good game and hopefully we can walk away with a victory or at least our heads held high and know we have a lot of work left to do so.”

With one big hurdle cleared, Martinez expects 2019 will be the start of a prolonged run of success at BC.

“We’re winners," he said. "And winners are never satisfied. So hopefully as a program, as we continue to grow, as the local talent continues to stay in Bakersfield, we keep this going.

"And maybe it’s not just winning a conference title and getting to postseason. Now it’s winning a postseason game, winning a second game in postseason. It’s the right start to a bright future for Bakersfield College men’s soccer.”

Zepeda named WSC Player of the Year

As was expected following its undefeated run through league play, the Bakersfield College volleyball team cleaned up when Western State Conference Awards were announced on Monday.

The Renegades had three players earn first-team honors, including Penelope Zepeda, who was named WSC Player of the Year. The sophomore outside hitter and Frontier graduate led the team and was fourth in the conference with 284 kills. She was also second on the team with 228 digs and third with 33 aces.

Freshman Alyson Dees (Tehachapi) and sophomore Lani Camarillo (Liberty) also earned first-team all-conference honors, while second-team sophomore Jessica Merante (Bakersfield Christian) was named Libero of the Year. Deese and Camarillo were second and fourth in the WCS in hitting percentage respectively, while Merante had a league-high 386 digs.

Emily Clark (Centennial) was also named all-second team, while fellow freshmen Francesca Hernandez and Sophia Palm (both from Bakersfield High School) were honorable mentions.

These successes were achieved under the guidance of Carl Ferreira, the WCS Co-Coach of the Year.

Elsewhere

• Six players scored in double figures as the Cal State Bakersfield women's basketball team defeated Fresno Pacific 95-64 Sunday. This was the most points the Roadrunners have scored in a game since Nov. 14, 2014. The Roadrunners rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game on an Ashley Austin 3-pointer, but surrendered the final five points in a 65-60 loss at Wright State Tuesday.

• The Bakersfield College men's basketball team is off to a 3-0 start, earning wins over Cosumnes River (82-73), Folsom Lake (69-58) and Hartnell (71-63). Tyrell Coleman has a team-high 15 points per game, which included a 20-point performance against Hartnell. 

• A 65th-minute own goal proved to be a back-breaker for the CSUB men's soccer team, which fell 1-0 to eventual conference champion Seattle in the WAC tournament semifinals Friday. The Roadrunners finish their final season in the WAC with a record of 8-11.

• The CSUB wrestling team lost 24-12 to Rutgers on Saturday, but got a major upset win at 133-pounds, when Chance Rich upset 11th-ranked Sammy Alvarez by pinfall with 10 seconds remaining in the match. Angelo Martinoni and Jacob Thalin also earned decision wins at 141 and 165 for the Roadrunners.

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