Tag Archive | "boys soccer"

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Highlanders strike early, even up series with Sonora

Posted on 11 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra's Kolby McInally (shown against Troy) struck first for La Habra with a header off a corner kick. La Habra defeated Sonora 2-1 at home, Tuesday afternoon.

La Habra’s Kolby McInally (shown against Troy) struck first for La Habra with a header off a corner kick. La Habra defeated Sonora 2-1 at home, Tuesday afternoon.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

After a loss to Troy in which it felt it had the edge, the La Habra boys’ soccer team came into Tuesday afternoon’s home matchup against rival Sonora with the mentality of a team that was coming in off a win.

Coupling that fire with a lackluster start for the Raiders, the Highlanders capitalized, scoring two goals within the first 20 minutes and hanging on for a 2-1 win, which knocked the Raiders out of any possibility of finishing better than fourth place.

“It’s really hard, you hope that your team is going to be ready for it,” said Cory Witt, Sonora head coach. “For 25 minutes, they just didn’t have any kind of enthusiasm, we were lackluster, slow and our decision-making was really pedestrian. When you spot a team two goals, it’s really hard to come back, but I really thought we could.”

Going into the matchup, Sonora sat just one point back of third-place Sunny Hills, while La Habra sat three points back in fifth place.

With Sunny Hills’ 2-1 win over Troy, both teams now sit three points back with one game remaining.

La Habra continued its knack of scoring on corner kicks, when Kolby McInally put the Highlanders on the board with a header off a corner kick by Israel Alvarez.

Later in the half, midfielder Charlie Aleman beat a defender on the left side and put in a cross for Austin Nazer, who finished with a score.

The Raiders responded with a goal less than a minute before halftime.

“We told our guys that they may be thinking because they scored at the end of the first half, that they could come out and score quickly in the second half, but we couldn’t allow that,” said Earvin Aleman, La Habra co-coach. “To us, this was a new game and throughout the game I felt the guys wanted it. They deserved to win.”

Throughout the matchup, Sonora wanted to utilize its main weapon, forward Eli Rico-Torres, who burned La Habra with four goals in the teams’ first matchup.

The second time through, La Habra prevented Rico-Torres from getting much breathing room in the offensive third by double-teaming him when the ball came his way.

Defensively, the Highlanders focused their back line on keeping constant pressure on Raiders’ forwards.

“The biggest difference was that we were tight on them,” Aleman said. “We did not allow [Rico-Torres] to receive the ball and turn on us like he did the last game.”

Sonora made an adjustment late in the first half and scored just before halftime on a pretty cross from Steve Vizarraga, who pushed the ball just past a defender and into the waiting right foot of fellow midfielder Jose Murillo.

Despite multiple chances on both sides, neither team could find the back of the net in the second half.

“We get in these tight spaces and it forces you to change the game plan,” Witt said. “[Eli] needed to play an active role as a decoy and that’s what he did for our first goal. They were double teaming our forwards the entire game, so we wanted to get the midfielders going, but we just couldn’t connect passes well in the second half.”

McInally missed wide right off a long throw-in from Chris Valencia in the 45th minute, while Sonora’s Andy Araiza had a chance on a header from a free kick, but it trickled wide to the left.

With time winding down, the Raiders picked up the pace and earned multiple free kicks and corner kick opportunities in the final five minutes.

Sonora’s best opportunity came in the 79th minute off a corner kick, but Rico-Torres header went wide of the goal.

“We knew in the second half that they were going to try to send the ball in every time, so I had my two center backs just drop back completely,” Aleman said. “Israel [Alvarez] and Ray [Flores] stepped up big once again in the midfield by winning second balls.”

Both teams close out the regular season on Thursday afternoon and both could be hoping for any possibility of an at-large berth into the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.

Sonora will try to avenge an earlier loss to Sunny Hills when it hosts the Lancers, Thursday afternoon.

“Our season’s pretty much over, they’ve clinched the third spot,” Witt said of Sunny Hills. “To send a team into the playoffs with a loss, that’s always kind of fun, but that’s unfortunate for us. That’s a tough loss.”

La Habra, which keeps the Bronze Boot by virtue of earning the season split, will try for a sweep against Buena Park on the road, Thursday afternoon.

“We don’t have a chance at third place, but there’s still a chance that a fourth place could qualify, so I want these guys to play as if they’re hanging on to first place,” Aleman said. “I felt like we did that today.”

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Defensive lapses cost Highlanders against Fullerton

Posted on 31 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Ray Flores (pictured against Troy) returned to the field for the Highlanders and scored a penalty kick goal in the 4th minute.

Ray Flores (pictured against Troy) returned to the field for the Highlanders and scored a penalty kick goal in the 4th minute.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

With its first league victory on Wednesday, the La Habra boys’ soccer team continued to control tempo early on in its home matchup with Fullerton, Friday afternoon.

The Highlanders took an early lead in the 4th minute on a penalty kick by midfielder Ray Flores, but the team became complacent in the middle portion of the game, which allowed the Indians to storm back and take the game 3-2.

Ultimately, defensive miscues in set pieces did the Highlanders in, as Fullerton (14-3-3. 4-1-1) scored two goals on corner kicks and a third on a free kick.

“I don’t know if it was fatigue, I’m not quite sure what played into that,” said Earvin Aleman, La Habra head coach. “The win on Wednesday reminded us that we still have a chance, I thought that when we scored the early goal we could continue to dictate the game.”

La Habra (7-8-3, 1-4-1) stormed out of the gates, pushing the ball into the offensive third. Ray Flores, in his first game back from injury, was awarded a penalty kick after the Indians fouled Joe Salinas in the box.

Flores promptly beat Indians’ goalkeeper Cesar Herrera to give La Habra an early 1-0 lead.

“It was great to have him back, especially for his leadership more than anything,” Aleman said. “When he’s here, it helps Israel [Alvarez] in the middle too because he doesn’t have to worry about so much.”

Midway through the half, La Habra’s energy dropped, which led to an increased number of fouls.

On the set pieces, La Habra’s defense missed the back side help. In the 26th minute, goalkeeper Richie Ruiz made a diving stop, but Fullerton’s Clayton Mohler was left unguarded on the back side and tapped in the rebound for the equalizer.

During the play, a whistle blew during the kick, which through the Highlanders’ defense off guard.

“I think that through everyone off,” Aleman said. “But still, whistle or no whistle, you have to defend properly.”

Mohler gave the Indians the lead in the 51st minute when he redirected a corner kick into the far side of the net.

Fullerton stretched the lead five minutes later off another corner kick. The ball bounced off a La Habra defender and found the left foot of defender Sammy McKay, who put it in on the near side.

“A mistake there and two mistakes here on marking cost us the game,” Aleman said. “We’re still in it though, we just have to worry about qualifying for CIF, because if we do that, anything can happen.”

It wasn’t until the 74th minute that La Habra found itself reenergized.

Driving down the right side, Israel Alvarez collected a loose ball and centered it to Austin Nazer, who used one touch to get it to Charlie Aleman on the left side for an easy goal.

The Highlanders lost another potential opportunity during the second half on a close offside call.

La Habra will try to bounce back with a home game against Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon. Sunny Hills defeated the Highlanders 3-1 in an overtime game earlier this season.

“We just need to come out, we should have beaten Sunny Hills the first time, I thought we dictated that game, but the red card killed us,” Aleman said. “We just need to remember our assignments on marking and we’ll be all right.”

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Heralds keep up the pressure, earn first league victory

Posted on 28 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

SUN VALLEY – After transferring over to Whittier Christian early last year, Heralds’ forward Malik Marshall took to the playing field for the first time since being ruled ineligible for a year, last January.

In his first game back, the senior scored twice and helped the Heralds pick up their first Olympic League victory, a 2-1 win over Village Christian, Tuesday afternoon at Village Christian School.

“He’d been practicing with us all year and our guys were just dying for him to get out there,” said Matt Rojas, Whittier Christian head coach. “He’s an offensive threat, he’s a big guy, he’s powerful and he has a knack for the goal. It’s exciting to have him out there.”

Marshall was placed at the center forward position and used his combination of size and footwork to consistently put pressure on the Crusaders defense.

While the combination didn’t result in any goals in the first half, he picked up two quick goals in the second half after the coaching staff moved Dylan Murphy up to the front line with him.

With Murphy’s added pressure, Marshall drove deeper into the box and took advantage of two opportunities less than five yards away from the goal.

Marshall’s first goal occurred in the 41st minute when a cross from Chase Gray bounced off the goalkeeper’s hands and straight to the waiting right foot of Marshall.

Two minutes later, Marshall was at it again. Marshall sprinted to catch up to a cross from Murphy and slid to poke the ball in. After it ricocheted back and forth, it trickled in over Village Christian keeper Aaron Lopez, giving the Heralds a 2-0 lead.

“I had anticipated at least one goal in the first half, but we didn’t get it,” Rojas said. “I wasn’t too worried, but I was a little apprehensive about pulling [Dylan] out. My assistant coach was the one who pushed for it and it ended up working out, it relieved Malik up top, which gave him more opportunities and he put them away.”

Despite controlling the tempo and positioning for most of the game, the Heralds (2-14-0, 1-3-0) couldn’t expand on the lead and the Crusaders found new life in the 64th minute off the left foot of freshman forward Matthew Rodriguez.

After corralling a pass, Rodriguez found space and rifled a 30-yard shot that sailed directly over goalkeeper Jeff Hargrave, bounced off the cross bar and found the back of the net.

Two minutes later, Rodriguez had another chance when he used his speed to beat a defender for a breakaway.

However, Hargrave challenged and knocked it out of bounds. The Crusaders (1-14-0, 0-4-0) didn’t get another strong opportunity as the Heralds controlled the ball.

“Practice was key for this game, we worked on a lot of possession, we set up obstacles to get around while keeping possession,” Rojas said. “A lot of our training has been based on that lately and they’ve been doing a good job, they’ve been hungry, they’re not happy with the losses, so our practices have picked up.”

Murphy made a brilliant save in the first half on another breakaway by Rodriguez. As goalkeeper, Murphy recognized a low shot and dropped down to knock it straight up in the air with his left arm. He then leaped up to catch the ball over the freshman forward.

For the Heralds, the win was much needed as it puts them on the board in the Olympic League.

Whittier Christian will continue its league season with a Thursday afternoon game against Heritage Christian at home. The Warriors defeated Whittier Christain 7-0 the first time through league play.

“We definitely want to carry over the ball control and the possession style,” Rojas said. “I know it will be a lot more difficult to be offensive, but as long as they keep control of that ball, it’ll give us the confidence to maybe have more opportunities. It won’t be as easy, but I think if we keep the style of play going along with the optimism and positivity, we should be all right on our home field.”

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Nazer’s overtime goal saves La Habra from a loss

Posted on 22 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra's Chris Valencia gets a touch on a ball in front of Troy forward Peter Seminara during the first half of a 1-1 draw, Wednesday afternoon at La Habra High.

La Habra’s Chris Valencia gets a touch on a ball in front of Troy forward Peter Seminara during the first half of a 1-1 draw, Wednesday afternoon at La Habra High.

by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

The La Habra boys’ soccer team avoided devastation with an overtime equalizer from forward, Austin Nazer, earning a 1-1 tie with Troy at home, Wednesday afternoon.

A late slide tackle inside the box from keeper Richie Ruiz gave Troy (11-1-2, 2-0-1) l a penalty kick and a chance to put the first the first goal in the net.

However, down 1-0 with just minutes left before the final whistle, midfielder Israel Alvarez sent a perfect lob on a corner kick to Austin Nazer who connected with his head for the goal.

“I was really determined, I saw the ball coming and it was perfect, I just had to attack the ball and score,” Nazer said.

The Highlanders (6-6-3 0-2-1) held off the Warriors strong counterattack thanks to the fine play from Ruiz, however all of his strong play was nearly erased when he fouled a forward inside the box to give the Warriors a penalty kick.

“I knew it was going to happen as soon as I came on it, the offensive player turned his back to me, and at that point I knew it was coming,” Ruiz said. “Coach says if you’re going to go out, go 100 percent.”

Ruiz clipped the attackers leg in his effort to secure the ball.

“Even though they call the foul on you, you just have to let your mind go. There’s no way of getting that back,” he said about the situation.

La Habra's Ray Flores splits three Troy players in the first half of the Highlanders' 1-1 draw with Troy, Wednesday afternoon at La Habra High.

La Habra’s Ray Flores splits three Troy players in the first half of the Highlanders’ 1-1 draw with Troy, Wednesday afternoon at La Habra High.

Ruiz felt prepared to stop the penalty after shutting down the Warriors through almost 90 minutes. “Look at their plant foot and guess which way they’ll go and I guess I went the wrong way,” he said.

Neither team was able to take control of the game during the first half. The Warriors had a strong counter attack which allowed the Troy strikers to pepper keeper Ruiz with shots throughout the game.

Fullback Chris Valencia helped the Highlanders recover from the loss of two starters. Senior Joe Salinas was unavailable because he received a red card in the previous game against Sunny Hills, and Kolby McInally was sick with the flu.

Valencia’s energy throughout the game helped inspire the rest of the team.

“Chris Valencia really stepped up today,” Nazer said. “The bench stepped up and played really well and played with heart and desire.”

Valencia’s performance today was noticed by Coach Earvin Aleman who also mentioned his performance.

“He’s always there, his energy is always there,” Aleman said. “These past few games he’s been really consistent… if you see one guy trying, it brings up the entire team.”

The Highlanders meet the Sonora Raiders, Friday at 3 p.m. at Sonora High School. The Highlanders will look to get into the Raiders’ heads in order to secure the victory.

“Within a team, if you get into their heads and you start touching and you start creating chances, they start getting hot headed and they start turning on one another,” Aleman said. “I think if we take it to them and we get a quick goal, we could potentially win.”

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Raiders rally late, salvage tie with Buena Park

Posted on 22 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Web_LHJ_SHS_Cal_Bsoc_200by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

After playing flat and falling behind in the 85th minute, the Sonora boys’ soccer team put it together in the final 16 minutes and nearly came away with a win against Buena Park on Wednesday afternoon.

But an open shot by midfielder Pedro Curiel sailed just wide left toward the end of the second overtime period and the Raiders settled for a 1-1 draw with Buena Park on the road.

Forward Eli Rico-Torres pushed a ball to the far side past Buena Park goalkeeper Armando Medina to tie the score in the 91st minute.

The score was set up by a beautiful forward pass from midfielder Christian Estrada.

“In reality, we put together three quality chances in the end,” said Cory Witt, Sonora head coach. “We wanted to switch the ball because our outsides were open. We finally executed well enough to give ourselves a chance. I was elated [with the effort late], you don’t want to come out of here with a loss.”

The score salvaged a game in which the Raiders struggled to adjust to Buena Park’s narrow field.

In addition, the team may have also been flat due to last Friday’s big win over Fullerton.

“They play with a lot of heart here, I give them a lot of credit,” Witt said of the Coyotes. “They come in and battle, no one likes to lose at home.”

However, despite the adversity, Buena Park couldn’t generate much in the offensive third either, as most opportunities were taken away by goalkeeper Luis Gonzalez.

The Coyotes’ missed an opportunity when forward David Cortes’ hard shot was blocked away by Gonzalez in the 36th minute.

Cortes had found a way past his defender and delivered a hard shot to the near post from the right side, but Gonzalez handled it and pushed it to the far right.

On the other side, Sonora struggled to connect passes and often turned the ball over when players held too long.

“The conditions are tough here, this is the narrowest field in our league, but knowing that you have to make adjustments,” Witt said. “Our touch was off, our first touches were terrible. I told the kids that a lot of them left their heart at home, they have to go find it, but sometimes you have those hangovers after a big win like we had against Fullerton.”

Twice in the second half, the Raiders had a chance from the corner, but two headers by Abraham Velasquez on the back side stayed wide.

Then, in the first overtime, Sonora got a wake-up call. Buena Park midfielder Juan Ramos collected a loose ball at the edge of the box and fired a shot to the upper right corner to put the Coyotes up 1-0 in the 84th minute.

Cortes collected a through ball and earned a breakaway, but Gonzalez made a spectacular save and pushed the ball to the left side.

Sonora had three chances in the second overtime and converted on one of them. A point-blank shot by Jose Murillo was saved by Medina.

However, Medina couldn’t get to Rico-Torres’ shot in the 94th minute.

The draw, coupled with La Habra’s draw with Troy, sets up a crucial matchup on Friday afternoon, when the two city rivals meet up at Sonora High.

“These boys will be ready for sure, that’s a game they’ll be up for,” Witt said. “We just want to see them bring that same effort, that same desire to every game and that’s why we kept our preseason light so we could keep them hungry. Today was a little disappointing, but we weren’t giving them too many chances to score.”

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Heralds lose Murphy to injury, fall to Heritage Christian

Posted on 17 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

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.

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Second half lapse results in tough loss for Sonora

Posted on 16 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

The Sonora and Troy boys' soccer teams come together for a moment of silence to honor Steve Aanderud before their Freeway League game, Wednesday afternoon at Sonora.

The Sonora and Troy boys’ soccer teams come together for a moment of silence to honor Steve Aanderud before their Freeway League game, Wednesday afternoon at Sonora.

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

After allowing two late goals, the Sonora boys’ soccer team dropped their Freeway League opener with a tough loss to Troy, 2-1, at Sonora.

Before the game even started, emotions were running high. Both teams gathered around midfield and had a moment of silence in memory of former La Habra soccer head coach Steve Aanderud.

The majority of the first half was played in the middle of the field, with no major threats from either side. The Warriors (10-1-1) managed to get off three shots, while the Raiders only had one.

Sonora’s goalie, Luis Gonzalez, turned away all three shots he faced and the one Sonora shot was also stopped, leaving the game scoreless at halftime.

In the second half, both defenses fell apart at times, which opened up the scoring. Sonora (3-3-2) broke through first, in the 53rd minute.

Off of a throw in, Andy Araiza crossed the ball in front of the Troy goal. The Warriors’ goaltender appeared to collide with a defenseman and the ball went right to Jose Murillo’s foot, and Murillo put it into the goal to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.

Less than a minute later, the Raiders almost took a 2-0 lead. Steve Vizarraga got a shot off from long distance, but it was tipped over the crossbar by Troy’s goalkeeper.

“We played a great game for the whole first half and the first part of the second half,” said Sonora head coach, Cory Witt. “But the last part of the game we started to make a lot of mistakes, and you cannot do that in league play.”

The Sonora defense made great plays all throughout the first half, but after the goal, they left some holes for the Warriors.

In the 63rd minute, Troy wing Peter Seminara broke away and had a one-on-one with Gonzalez. There was not much Gonzalez could do about it, and Seminara put the ball in the net for the equalizer.

“We played 60 really good minutes,” Witt said. “Especially in league play, though, it seems that games are won and lost in the last 20 minutes. We proved that today.”

The Troy offense kept rolling after that and got three shots in the next five minutes. None of them were converted but the momentum was clearly in Troy’s favor.

The breakthrough came in the 71st minute. Troy defenseman Brendan Green delivered a beautiful through pass to the foot of midfielder Jose Manuel Garcia who also broke away for a score to put Troy up 2-1.

The Raiders were not able to get anything going offensively before the clock ran out.

“We are a team that is always improving,” Witt said. “We will be back and stronger going forward.”

The Raiders will look to even their league record at 1-1, Friday at home against Fullerton.

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Highlanders fall flat in second half, drop league opener

Posted on 15 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra's Austin Nazer tries to find an opening for a shot while being pursued by Fullerton's Austin Chon during the first half of Fullerton's 3-0 victory, Wednesday afternoon.

La Habra’s Austin Nazer tries to find an opening for a shot while being pursued by Fullerton’s Austin Chon during the first half of Fullerton’s 3-0 victory, Wednesday afternoon.

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Fighting without its biggest defensive presence, the La Habra boys’ soccer team couldn’t fend off an early second-half surge by Fullerton, falling 3-0 on the road in the teams’ Freeway League opener, Wednesday afternoon.

With center back CJ Camacho unavailable, the Highlanders allowed two goals within the first five minutes of the second half. The Indians kept the pressure on late after a pretty even first half.

“It may have been a lack of communication in the back that caused us to let up in the second half,” said La Habra co-coach Earvin Aleman. “We’re hoping CJ is ready to go for Friday.”

The Indians (11-2-2) struggled with accuracy in the first half despite making firm contact on most of their shots.

To start the second half, Fullerton closed the gap, getting the ball inside for all three scores.

Two minutes into the second half, Fullerton midfielder Michael Licon crossed the ball inside and connected with forward Leonardo Morales, who scored on a header above the outstretched arm of La Habra goalkeeper Richie Ruiz.

The Indians weren’t done. In the 45th minute, midfielder Andrew Perez found space from the right and scored by putting the ball past Ruiz on the far side.

Fullerton put the game away in the 56th minute when Morales scored on a no-look shot, redirecting a cross from Perez.

The Highlanders (6-5-2) had opportunities in the first half, but couldn’t put them away.

“I felt we did well in the first half,” Aleman said. “They tried to touch twice and then try to find the long ball. What we wanted to do was press more and not allow them to send it as well as set up in the back so that we were prepared for it when it came.”

Austin Nazer just missed getting a header on a cross by Charlie Aleman in the 30th minute.

Just before halftime, Eric Sandoval’s shot was caught by Fullerton goalkeeper Guillermo Jimenez.

Before the game, the Fullerton soccer program honored the memory of Steve Aanderud by playing “Amazing Grace” and holding a moment of silence. In a move by Sonora head coach Cory Witt to honor Aanderud, all players in the Freeway League will wear arm bands with his name throughout league play.

La Habra continues league play with a road matchup against Sunny Hills, Friday at 3 p.m.

“They’re a good team, but like any team they have weaknesses,” Aleman said. “We just want to be prepared. We’ll take what we need from this game, but most of it we’ll just forget about and start fresh.”

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Heralds fall to Maranatha in league opener

Posted on 15 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

heralds_whittier_christian_boys_varsity_baseball_spring_11-12by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

For the first 30 minutes of its Olympic League opener, the Whittier Christian boys’ soccer team matched Maranatha’s physicality and seemed to stay with the Minutemen stride-for-stride.

But as the game got into the later stages of each half, the Minutemen sustained the physicality and muscled two goals late in each half in putting away the Heralds 4-1, Tuesday afternoon at Whittier Christian High.

“For the first 15-20 minutes, I thought it was going okay,” said Matt Rojas, Whittier Christian head coach. “Honestly though, I don’t feel like we played our game today, maybe they were nervous for their first league game, maybe they felt entitled to something and didn’t realize they still needed to work for it.”

Maranatha forwards Jose Heredia and Ethan Prins complemented each other nicely as they set each other up for all four Minutemen goals.

But it took Maranatha (7-7-1, 1-0-0) a while to get past Whittier Christian goalkeeper Dylan Murphy, which was a big reason it took the Minutement until the 33rd minute to take the lead.

Immediately in the 3rd minute, Murphy dazzled with a diving save on a shot by Maranatha’s Erik Jensen. It was one of three big plays Murphy made to prevent a goal.

However, Heredia took advantage of a situation to put the Minutemen up in the 33rd minute. After beating two defenders, Prins lost control of the ball, which bounced right to Heredia, who nailed a shot while catching Murphy slightly out of position.

Prins made it 2-0 with a rebound goal off Murphy in the 39th minute.

“As time went on, the frustrations from not winning each play, scoring a goal, not tying the game up and their physicality just got us even more riled up,” Rojas said. “It kept us from even being composed there too, it was a rough game.”

Trying to stage a comeback, Rojas made some switches to start the second half, most notably, putting Murphy as an outside forward and replacing him in net with Jeff Hargrave.

The move nearly paid off as Murphy was set up nicely on a cross by Juan Carlos Reinis, but he couldn’t get a solid shot on goal.

“This is league, it’s all or nothing, we’re not trying to tie, we’re trying to score some goals,” Rojas said. “Jeff does great in goal, he’s more than reliable for us in net.”

In the 68th minute, Prins beat Hargrave off a pass from Heredia.

The Heralds’ lone goal was scored by Matthew Rada, who worked hard against a pair of defenders and put a nice touch on the ball with the left foot to skip it past Maranatha goalkeeper Jensen Hutto in the 79th minute.

However, the Heralds (1-12-0, 0-1-0) suffered a mental lapse, which allowed Heredia to quickly put in a goal less than a minute later, leading to the game’s final score.

“It was nice to see that in the last minute, we were able to score, granted they got it right back, which took away the whole thing,” Rojas said. “It was nice to see a little success there in a rough game.”

The Heralds continue Olympic League play with a road game at Heritage Christian, Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

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Despite opportunities, Sonora battles Whittier to scoreless draw

Posted on 10 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

Whittier goalkeeper Luis Barrera turns away a Sonora shot during the first half of a scoreless draw, Friday afternoon at Whittier High.

Whittier goalkeeper Luis Barrera turns away a Sonora shot during the first half of a scoreless draw, Friday afternoon at Whittier High.

Story and photos by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

WHITTIER – Playing on slippery, muddy field conditions, the Sonora boys’ soccer team created plenty of chances, but couldn’t find a finishing touch against Whittier as the two teams battled to a scoreless draw, Friday afternoon at Whittier High.

The Raiders (3-2-2) had two great chances in the first half that were turned away by freshman goalkeeper Luis Barrera. Sonora controlled the last 15 minutes of the game and threatened to score, but couldn’t put it away.

“I thought our stamina held up toward the end of the game, I thought we had more chances throughout,” said Cory Witt, Sonora head coach. “It was definitely in our favor, so I can take that home with me. Going into league, it’s better than a loss for sure, it wasn’t the win I was hoping for, but I think we’re clicking.”

Sonora freshman Cesar Coronado works with the ball against Whittier's Pedro Varela as the teams battled to a scoreless draw, Friday afternoon.

Sonora freshman Cesar Coronado works with the ball against Whittier’s Pedro Varela as the teams battled to a scoreless draw, Friday afternoon.

Twice in the first half, the Raiders found themselves with an advantage in the offensive third.

However, Barrera made diving stops on both situations, including a header by Andy Araiza, and Sonora couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing corner kicks.

“He’s been making stops like that all year,” said Alex Clark, Whittier head coach. “He’s kept us in almost every ball game this year because of plays like those.”

The Raiders used this game as a tune up for league play, which meant getting reps for some of the team’s bench players.

Those reserves got valuable time during the later stages of the first half and the beginning of the second half.

“Going into league play, playing time is few and far between for a few guys down on the depth chart, so it was a day where we needed to get some of those kids in the game,” Witt said. “I discovered some depth that we have in a few positions today.”

During the final 15 minutes of the game, Sonora dominated time of possession and kept the ball in the offensive third for the majority of that time.

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Sonora forward Cesar Coronado takes a shot on goal during the first half of Sonora’s draw with Whittier. Barrera dove to his right to knock the ball out of bounds.

Andrew Cooley had an opportunity in the 70th minute, but his shot was knocked away by Barrera, which led to a corner kick for the Raiders.

On that ensuing corner kick, Barrera again got in the way, this time making a save on a header by Luis Saldivar. Sophomore Christian Estrada collected the rebound, but misfired wide left.

Sonora’s defense kept the Cardinals (4-7-1) from creating many chances, however, the Raiders’ goalkeepers were challenged a pair of times on free kicks near the box.

Whittier had a chance on a corner kick in the 75th minute, but it was cleared away by Sonora.

The Raiders open up Freeway League play at home against Troy, next Wednesday at 3 p.m.

“Ultimately, the plan worked, these kids aren’t injured or beat up, they’re chomping at the bit like I was hoping for,” Witt said. “In all areas of the game, they put an exhibition today except for finishing. We’ll continue to work on it. Soccer’s a game of chances, and I think every team gets five in a game. It depends on what you do with them.”

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