Sports

Heralds lose Murphy to injury, fall to Heritage Christian

Whittier Christian's Harry Kim battles Heritage Christian's Diego Tejada for possession near midfield during the first half of the Heralds' 7-0 loss, Thursday afternoon at HCS.
Whittier Christian’s Harry Kim battles Heritage Christian’s Diego Tejada for possession near midfield during the first half of the Heralds’ 7-0 loss, Thursday afternoon at HCS.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

NORTH HILLS – Battling high winds and struggling to connect in passing lanes, the Whittier Christian boys’ soccer team fell to Heritage Christian, 7-0 in an Olympic League game at Heritage Christian School, Thursday afternoon.

After losing to Maranatha at home on Tuesday, Heralds head coach Matt Rojas held a light practice for the team on Wednesday. The first-year head coach didn’t feel the motivation was there from his team on Thursday.

“I’m more than responsible for the loss, we held a light practice yesterday and it may have sent the wrong message,” Rojas said. “I didn’t really feel the momentum pick up at all. We’re going to pick up the intensity next week.”

On top of the lopsided loss, Whittier Christian (1-12-0) may have lost Dylan Murphy for an extended period of time after he suffered a possible concussion late in the first half.

Trying to push the ball forward, Murphy ducked to keep the ball in front with his head. At the same time, Heritage Christian’s Michael Nimuda attempted to redirect the ball using the same method, leading to a full force head-on-head collision that left both players on the turf for several minutes.

“That’s a huge loss, we weren’t really optimistic putting him up front because he didn’t feel good before the game,” For that to happen, it’s even more detrimental. Dylan’s an athlete, so losing him anywhere is going to be big.”

After a back-and-forth battle through the first 15 minutes of play, the Warriors’ Enot Rubio, shooting with the wind, blasted a free kick that ricocheted off the bottom of the crossbar and into the goal in the 16thminute.

Midway through the half, in a span of five minutes, the Warriors (7-5-0) increased the lead to 4-0 on regulation goals by Pablo Uggetti and Nathan Campos, along with a penalty kick goal by Rubio.

Uggetti scored a second goal in the 48th minute off a cross by Luke Mayberry, who also scored a goal on a breakaway in the 61st minute.

The Warriors closed out the scoring in the 65th minute when Matias De Lauro beat a defender and knocked a shot through on the far side.

Offensively, the Heralds continually tried to push the ball forward with long through balls that traveled too far to be reached, instead of trying to find closer open targets.

“There was a lot of impatience throughout the whole field, we had a lot of guys diving in,” Rojas said. “[Heritage Christian] does pretty well adapting to everyone else’s style and we didn’t seem to let up on the diving. They capitalized on our mistakes, they did what they should have.”

Whittier Christian’s best chances came late off the foot of Matthew Rada. The senior forward fired a shot from the right side that bounced off the outstretched arms of Warriors’ goalkeeper Scott Uyekawa and hit the post.

A minute later, Aaron Ramirez crossed the ball inside to Rada, but this time, his redirect shot bounced off the near post.

The Heralds will return home to battle Valley Christian, Jan. 24.

“We’re going to pick up the intensity in practices next week,” Rojas said. “We know we have some things to work on.”

GIRLS VARSITY

The Whittier Christian girls’ soccer team earned a 1-1 tie at home against Heritage Christian on Thursday afternoon.

Sophomore Marriah Gishwiller scored the Lady Heralds’ lone goal off a pass from fellow sophomore Emily Roeder.

The Lady Heralds (0-11-3) will face Valley Christian on the road, Friday, Jan. 24.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.