Tag Archive | "soccer"

Tags: , , ,

Lady Highlanders beat Raiders, advance to CIF

Posted on 14 February 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

In a back and forth battle between the Lady Raiders and Lady Highlanders, it was the Highlanders girls’ soccer team who came out victorious, winning 3-2.Print_LHJ LHHS vs BHHS Gsoc_0934_

Throughout the game both teams carried momentum, but the Highlanders offensive firepower became too much for the Raider defense.

“We don’t win many 1-0’s, it’s often like this,” head coach Matt Sanger said.

“Welcome to reality, we have a good team, but you know what, today the girls didn’t play, defense they weren’t flawless, they weren’t covering, they were slow, so they weren’t ready, mentally they weren’t ready,” head coach Jorge Montalvo said.

The Raiders evened the score at two when Tatsiana Loscutoff capitalized on a penalty kick.

The Highlanders quickly countered, scoring on a header from Jocelyn Mosqueda.

With time working against the Raiders, they created one final chance.

Highlander goalkeeper Katelyn Phinney, was there to salvage the victory for her Highlanders and secure the La Habra cleat for another year.

The Raiders got on the board first, with a goal from Ashley Bordy.

With Bordy dribbling towards the Highlander goal, she chipped a shot high over Phinney’s head and into the goal.

Sonora scoring early, helped us wake up, and realize we have a game to play, and I’m proud of them, they worked hard,” Sanger said.

While the Raiders have been successful in multiple close games this season playing defensive, Raiders plan backfired as Darriell Franklin nearly took on the defense on her own.LHJ LHHS vs BHHS Gsoc_0699_

“They just stayed watching, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do, and that’s how they capitalized. We can score goal, but if we keep giving mistakes away, it’s not going to happen, it’s not going to matter,” Montalvo said.

She was taking players on, she does that a lot, but when it’s on, she’s deadly,” Sanger said, “it wasn’t just beating one player, she’d beat three, four, five players.”

Franklin swiftly countered with an equalizer before halftime, and followed that with her second in the 47th minute.

With momentum fully at the hands of the Highlanders, Franklin nearly dished off an assist to Chloe Cooksey, however the goal was waived off for offsides with Sara Weiland impeding the keeper.

It could have been four, five, six goals just on chances she created,” Sanger said.

The offsides call ended up being the shift in momentum, with the Raiders getting their second goal minutes after the offsides call.

The resilience of the Highlanders however brought them back as they secured a berth into CIF with the third spot in Freeway League.

“I was proud of them to come back, and then even after we got the pk scored against us, we were able to come back and get the win and not let it go to overtimeLHJ LHHS vs BHHS Gsoc_0518_

There were a few storylines heading into the game. The ultimate prize for the two teams was third place, with the teams separated by only a half game.The two teams were in pursuit of city supremacy and this was the second matchup between two sisters, in Sonora forward Sarah and La Habra keeper Katelyn Phinney.

The Highlanders advance on to CIF where they will travel to Mira Costa Thursday February 19.

“I look forward to it, I feel like we play better with better competition, so I’m excited for it,” Franklin said.

“We need to be on our toes, physically. Last year and the goal that was scored today, I wasn’t on my toes. All those goals, I was flat footed, that’s what I want to change for CIF,” Phinney said.

The Highlanders have been able to experiment with moving Weiland from the back line to the forward position. They intend to use her as a forward which will put the pressure on their young defensive line.

“A lot of teams are going to overlook us, because our record isn’t the best, but we are dangerous,” Sanger said, “even though we haven’t beaten the teams that we wanted too, we can play with them.”

Comments Off on Lady Highlanders beat Raiders, advance to CIF

Tags: , ,

Witt fires up team for Raider victory

Posted on 17 January 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

After a sluggish first half, three second-half goals for the Raiders helped them to a 4-1 win over Bolsa Grande last Wednesday.
Tied at one at halftime, the Raiders were given a challenge by head coach Cory Witt…score three goals or run.sonora_raiders
“It’s frightening to run, because none of us want to do that,” Christopher Dimas said about the possibility of running after the game.
The Raiders (3-3-2) had played with disinterest, appeared confident they could sleep through this game and get a victory, but just before halftime Bolsa Grande (2-6) beat them in the defensive zone and got a clean look for a goal.
The goal wasn’t anything fancy, but was a product of lackluster defense and hustle.
“We came out in the first half, oh we’re gonna win this game, and we don’t have to try that hard, which I told them at halftime, is a complete and utter disrespect for an opponent,” Witt explained.
The coach didn’t need more signs to issue the challenge.
“I don’t care who the opponent is,  you go out there and you go play your best,” Witt said.  “You bring out the best in their abilities as well.”
Sure enough, the Raiders responded.
“First half, we were playing with a sense of arrogance, and they were playing with passion, and the second half we decided to play with a little bit of passion,” Witt said.
The passion he saw in Bolsa Grande, which he wanted from them was displayed in their soccer.
“The passion came from, trusting one another, touching the ball quickly, moving the ball from offense to defense in a smooth, quick fashion, and the result paid off,” Witt said.
They entered the second half with a different intensity, and scored their first second half goal within the first 10 minutes.
“The second half they took those words to heart, and they went out there and played to their ability,” Witt said.
Dimas scored the first goal off an assist from Joey Montalvo, but it was the third goal that highlighted the change in attitude.
Pushing the ball past midfield, Dimas was found open just outside the box.
A ground pass was sent his direction but Montalvo realized the defense was rushing in his direction and told him to let the ball go.
Aware of the situation, Dimas dummied the ball through his legs, right to Montalvo who finished the ball to give the Raiders their third second half goal and a 4-1 lead.
“I did not expect him to let it go,” Montalvo said about the pass he received from Dimas.
Afraid of the reaction he would have gotten from his teammates, he made sure to finish the shot.
“They probably would have chewed me out,” Montalvo said.
Eli Rico-Torres scored the first goal 20 minutes into the game when he received a throw in from Montalvo. Once he had the ball, it took just a few dribbles before he ripped a shot with his left foot to net the first goal.
Rico-Torres also scored the Raiders third goal as they inched closer to their objective.
The midfield offensive pressure changed in the second half, as they received balls and quickly looked to move it upfield, rather than dribbling it into pressure.
“When your midfielders in the first half are holding the ball five, six touches, trying to make people look foolish, dribbling one or two players, and then five minutes into the second half, they’re collecting the ball and getting rid of it right away, two touch three touch soccer, you can tell right there that okay these guys mean it, they’re gonna play,” Witt said.
The Raiders followed with a 4-0 win against Whittier High School Friday, and enter Freeway League play Wednesday against Sunny Hills at home.
Witt added, “they’ve got to rely on one another to be successful.”

Comments Off on Witt fires up team for Raider victory

Tags: , , , ,

Lady Highlanders dominate in opener

Posted on 14 January 2015 by La Habra Journal

By Sarah Fenton
La Habra Journal

The La Habra girls’ soccer team won its first Freeway league game against Buena Park, 7-0, at home Tuesday afternoon.

LHJ LHHS vs BHHS Gsoc_0934_
“In league every game matters, so we knew we had to play hard,” said La Habra head coach Matt Sanger. “We wanted to start off strong and send a message to our league that we are here to win it.”
The Lady Highlanders (3-6-1, 1-0) took turns scoring and dominated the Coyotes (2-10-1, 0-1) on both offense and defense the whole game.
“We worked on possession and we got to work on some of our set plays,” Sanger said. “It’s not so much this game that we’re looking at, we’ve been preparing for the season to start. In preseason we got to try some things out and we got to test things.”
La Habra took an early lead in the 6th minute with an assist from Taleah Carter to Sarah Wieland who finished the play.
The Highlanders took control of the first half and maintained possession of the ball in Buena Park territory but had trouble finishing their shots.LHJ LHHS vs BHHS Gsoc_0428_
“We have a lot of young players and with young players you have inconsistencies so what we need is our young players to get more experience and to start playing more confidently,” Sanger said.
Late in the first half the Highlanders advanced their lead to 2-0 with help from Alexis Morales. The Highlanders held the lead over Buena Park going into halftime.
La Habra came out fighting in the second half.
“For the second half we went back to our game plan of playing simple, moving the ball quickly, and not getting stuck,” Sanger said. “We tried to play a more simple game and we found spaces and we were able to attack a lot more.” LHJ LHHS vs BHHS Gsoc_0496_
The Highlanders sco quickly with an early goal off a corner kick tapped in by Darriell Franklin to advance the lead to 3-0.
Minutes later, La Habra found another scoring opportunity when the ball got loose in front of Buena Park’s goal. The ball bounced around in front of the goal and the Highlanders tapped it in before the Coyotes could clear it out.
The Highlanders kept pushing the ball forward and Chloey Cooksey scored two consecutive goals from left field to advance their lead to 6-0 over the Coyotes.
In the final minutes of the game, Regina Sanchez added one more point to the scoreboard by tapping in a corner kick from Wieland. LHJ LHHS vs BHHS Gsoc_0920_
“A game like this might look like we played a perfect game when you look at the score but we have a lot of things we have to fix,” Sanger said. “Mostly it’s just little mistakes.”
With their first Freeway league win under their belt, the Highlanders will travel to Fullerton and take on the Indians Wednesday afternoon.
“I think we did a much better job in the second half,” Sanger said. “The biggest thing for us is our intensity. We have to bring a high level of intensity no matter who we play. Any team in this league can be dangerous so we need to make sure that we come prepared.”

Comments Off on Lady Highlanders dominate in opener

Tags: , , , , , ,

Not even rare injury can hold down Dylan Murphy’s competitive nature

Posted on 18 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

Photo by Meagan Garton, La Habra Journal

Photo by Meagan Garton, La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

On a relatively cool September night at Whittier College, Dylan Murphy was playing a typical game at strong safety for the Whittier Christian football team despite a lopsided score favoring its opponent, St. Margaret’s.

The senior was once again leading his team’s defensive unit in tackles, flying all over the field in a weekly quest to shut down his opponent’s skill players.

In the fourth quarter, Dylan was in motion to make his team-leading 15th tackle of the night on St. Margaret’s quarterback Josh Davis while he was scrambling out of the pocket and finding space to gain yards.

Trying to avoid contact, Davis slid while Dylan dove in. Davis’ knee – lifted off the ground – made contact with Dylan’s outer left thigh.

“When I hit him, I thought it hurt a little bit, but I thought it was just a dead leg,” Dylan recalled. “When I came back in, I realized something wasn’t right, so I pulled myself back out.”

What couldn’t be seen by the naked eye that night, was just how much damage had been done by that one seemingly insignificant amount of contact, which would send Dylan through a two-month long journey that started with his playing career in jeopardy and ended with a clear vision and a reassurance of his faith.


Dylan came into his senior football season at Whittier Christian with some lofty expectations, the result of an outstanding junior season that landed him the Olympic League’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

Playing strong safety, Dylan was known by Heralds’ head coach Sergio Gradilla as a well-rounded member of the Heralds’ secondary who was as strong at stopping the run as he was tackling receivers.

“Going in, we knew we were going to be good defensively, it was the second year running our system,” Gradilla said. “But we also went in knowing that the one person we couldn’t afford to lose was Dylan. He was bound to have a great year and he started it that way.”

Indeed, Dylan was off to a blazing start during the first three games of the season, leading the team by a wide margin in tackles and forcing a pair of fumbles.

He took it a step further against a much tougher opponent in St. Margaret’s, on Sept. 20, 2013.

Already with 14 tackles, a sack and an interception by the start of the fourth quarter, Dylan noticed Davis running in his direction.

However, at the last second, Davis slid to avoid contact. Dylan, already in motion to make a tackle, landed on top of him.

“You almost never see a high school quarterback slide,” Gradilla said. “But he did and his knee went right into Dylan’s thigh.”

Later that night, Dylan confided in his mother, Denine Ryder, saying the injury may prevent him from playing in his club soccer game the following morning.

Ryder, having seen Dylan go through minor injuries in the past, didn’t initially think much of the condition.

“When it happened, I was thinking ‘Oh, you’re fine’, but he was thinking he wouldn’t be able to play in his soccer game,” Ryder said. “I didn’t think it was an issue, so I just told him to shake it off, let’s not make it an issue if it’s not one.”

After a painful night with little sleep, Dylan went to the Heralds’ morning film session, followed by a trip to watch the junior varsity team play.

Dylan then went to his club soccer game, watching from the sidelines, before returning home at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.

“When he got home, I saw it and went ‘Oh my gosh!’” Ryder said. “It looked like it had doubled in size.”


After seeing how severely Dylan’s left leg had swelled, Ryder rushed him to urgent care at Presbyterian Hospital in Whittier.

Shortly after being admitted, the two were introduced to Dr. Amir Rounaghi, who played a pivotal role in getting timely treatment for Dylan.

After conducting a test to determine the amount of internal bleeding, Dr. Rounaghi diagnosed Dylan with Compartment Syndrome, a condition where severe swelling cuts off the flow of blood and oxygen to the affected muscle compartment.

An hour later, Dylan was rushed into surgery.

“[Dr. Rounaghi] told us that if this was his child, he would say do it, don’t hesitate,” Ryder said. “When he told us one hour, my jaw dropped, but before I could say anything, Dylan said, ‘Let’s do it.’ I was so amazed that he handled it in such a mature manner.”

In surgery, Dr. Rounaghi cut open the muscle to alleviate the pressure in Dylan’s leg due to the swelling and inserted a wound vacuum to drain the internal bleeding.

During the procedure, Dr. Rounaghi also removed five large blood clots from Dylan’s leg.

Had he waited four hours later to get checked, Dylan risked losing all function of the muscle. Had he waited until the next morning, he risked having his leg amputated.

“God definitely knew what He was doing and knew when it was the right time for me to go in, it was definitely Him,” Dylan said. “To speak on the rarity of the injury, [Dr. Rounaghi] said it was the first time in his career that he had done that surgery.”

Despite an initial recovery time of at least 3-5 months, Dylan made it a point to be there for every football game, even showing up to Salesian High School in a wheelchair less than a week later, the wound vacuum still attached.

“To me, it showed that he was dedicated and he loved the sport,” said Mitchell Neller, a teammate of Dylan’s in both football and soccer. “We all know that he was the most competitive player, but even when he wasn’t suited up, he would be on the sideline giving us pointers on how to fix mistakes.”

For a brief time after the surgery, the injury took a toll on Dylan mentally, as he reflected on the possibility of the end of his high school playing career.

However, the faith he and his mom share, along with the overwhelming support of family, friends, teammates and school administrators, lifted his spirits quickly.

“There wasn’t a day in the hospital where half of his teammates weren’t there, we got so much support from everybody,” Ryder said. “Even through social media, we had an outpouring of emails and messages from people who were praying for him.”

Two weeks after his first operation and seeing that the wound was healing much quicker than expected, Dylan underwent a second operation by Dr. David A. Lewis, a colleague of Dr. Rounaghi, to close the wound.

Dylan Murphy was on the field for the coin toss in the Heralds' game against Valley Christian, a week after his second operation. Dylan was on the sideline for every Heralds game this season.

Dylan Murphy was on the field for the coin toss in the Heralds’ game against Valley Christian, a week after his second operation. Dylan was on the sideline for every Heralds game this season.


From the first possible moment after his second operation, Dylan was doing light exercises to help rehab his left leg. That first possible moment was the day after the operation.

In addition, Dylan would visit Ryan Hartshorn at Fullerton Physical Therapy and Sports Care twice a week for two-hour sessions.

It was during his second session that Dylan really began to believe that he could make it on the field much sooner than anticipated.

“I was already on a bike,” he said. “The first time I did it, I wasn’t able to get [my leg] all the way around because I couldn’t bend it that far, but after getting through the bike and working, I thought ‘I could do this’, I just have to work hard at it.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Dylan also worked out at a local gym after sessions and on off days.

While he knew the extra work would pay off, he admitted that there were times where it tested his patience.

“I wasn’t angry, but I was frustrated because I knew I could make those motions, but my brain wouldn’t let me,” Dylan said. “It was really tough.”

After a month-and-a-half of intense physical therapy, Dylan rode on the bus with the Heralds’ soccer team for its season opener at Western Christian in Upland on Nov. 19, 2013, one day short of two months after the injury.

It wasn’t anticipated that Dylan would play, but during the second half, he walked up to his coach, Matt Rojas, and requested to be subbed in as a forward, rather than his usual spot as goalkeeper.

“I think that was more shocking to everyone else than it was to me, but looking back it was a little surprising,” Dylan said. “Running felt weird. It felt like one leg was on eight cylinders and the other was barely going, it was the weirdest feeling.”

Dylan wore a brace on his left knee to help distribute the pressure on his leg while running, but the move didn’t come without a scare or two from the outset.

“The first play he went in, he got slide-tackled on the same leg and I was worried,” Neller said. “But he got right back up and got the ball back and that pumped me up, I thought to myself, ‘I guess he’s all right’.”

A week later, Dylan opted to switch to goalkeeper to defend a penalty kick and did so successfully in the Heralds’ home opener, another big step in getting back to 100 percent.

Over a month later, Dylan was battling the flu in a road game at Heritage Christian. After deciding to sub in, the senior aggressively went after a loose ball and suffered a head-on collision with an opposing player, knocking both to the turf for several minutes.

Dylan started the Heralds’ next game.

“That in a nutshell is who he is,” Rojas said. “He wasn’t feeling good, he had a headache, but he’s not one to just sit and he said he was ready to go. He went out and challenged for every ball.”


While Dylan’s competitive spirit and playing style have not been altered by his injury, the senior admits that he has gained from the experience.

What Dylan takes away most is to be appreciative of his abilities and not just in athletics.

“It was a wake-up call to appreciate the things I have,” he said. “I have the ability to play sports, while there are others who don’t have that ability. I’m more appreciative of the things I’m capable of.”

In addition, he has a clearer vision of where he wants to go in life.

In October, about a week after his second operation, Dylan received confirmation that he was accepted to Grand Canyon University, according to Ryder.

Dylan said that he is thinking about trying out for the men’s soccer team as a walk-on athlete, but added that he was so inspired by the work of Dr. Rounaghi and Dr. Lewis that he wants a career geared toward orthopedic surgery.

“They had an impact in getting me back to where I am,” he said. “I want to help out others the same way that they helped me.”

Dylan attributes his character to his mother, who is his biggest role model.

However, she believes that she may have been even more inspired by the way he handled the entire process of the injury.

“He’s a fighter, he’s got passion and he put a lot of trust in his faith, but I think it helped him grow in his faith,” Ryder said. “He never went into that dark space and I attribute that not only to his faith, but the massive amount of support that he had from the moment it all started.”

The senior will have one final chance to play football before moving on to bigger things. In October, Dylan was sent an invitation by the Down Under Sports Competition on the Gold Coast of Australia to participate in an All-Star Football Tournament in Australia in June.

“I was surprised by it, I didn’t think that would be an option or an opportunity for me,” Dylan said of the invitation. “Considering my season was cut short, I thought it was something I needed to do. I’m really stoked about it, the chance to get out there one more time before I’m done.”

Comments Off on Not even rare injury can hold down Dylan Murphy’s competitive nature

Tags: , , , ,

Athlete Spotlight: Brooke Mays powers La Habra’s offense

Posted on 18 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

IMG_9380Story and photo by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

With playoff hopes dangling by a thread heading into the final week of the regular season, the Lady Highlanders girls’ soccer team needed a spark. Just as its hopes began to fade, that spark arrived.

Senior forward Brooke Mays ignited her team with a last minute goal to lift her team over city rival Sonora to start the week and rode that hot streak  to the tune of six goals, one hat trick, and a berth into the CIF Division 2 playoffs all in the span of four days.

Brooke led her team in the comeback against Sonora, scored two against Buena Park to force a playoff against Sonora, then after the team surrendered a goal, she exploded for three unanswered goals in less than 40 minutes.

For her, it was a picture perfect finish.

“If I were to end my last week of high school soccer, that would have been the way to end it,” she said.  “It was an amazing feeling.”

The tremendous performance has not gone unnoticed as friends, teachers, and even strangers in the halls are complimenting her.

“Someone called me Lightning McQueen today,” Brooke said.

In addition to the support she receives around town and at school, her mom is her best cheerleader in the stands.

“I always hear her yelling at me,” Brooke said. “It’s awesome knowing that what she’s going through, she would give anything to watch me do what I love, because she loved it too.”

The two have a bond which inspires her to play at her best.

This is not the first time someone in her family has achieved superstar status on the pitch, her mom once was a star soccer player too, before being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 16.

“My mom was a big, star soccer player back in the day, she was supposed to go on tour and try out for the USA Women’s team,” Brooke said.

For now, Brooke’s dream would be to play for UCLA after high school and compete at a Division I school, but is still waiting for the best option after high school.

She desires to compete with the best for a championship, but also considers the possibility of being a key cog in a smaller school’s program while competing in the NAIA. Regardless of the next location, soccer should remain a constant.

Blessed with speed, athleticism, and good genes, Brooke is often the fastest player on the pitch, however her mental game has led her to become the force seen on the field today.

“When I first started coaching her, she could only run in straight lines, she couldn’t change directions,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “She would get the ball and it wouldn’t be uncommon for her to, if she was running out of bounds, she would take the ball and just run out of bounds. If we played a through ball, often times she wouldn’t get her head up so she would be going towards the keeper and end up at the corner flag.

“She’s fast, she thinks quickly, she makes split decisions, she reacts very quickly,” Sanger added, “but the biggest challenge is getting her to slow down and think when she’s on the field and that’s the main area of growth.”

By slowing down, she has been able to read defenses and find her teammates.

Brooke’s eye for the field has allowed her to understand the movement of other players. Surprisingly, she doesn’t enjoy watching soccer, because she gets frustrated watching other players make mistakes as she inserts herself in their place.

Instead, Brooke prefers to watch Law and Order and eat tacos from teammate Cortney Gonzalez’ dad. “I’m not a typical girl, I hate shopping, I hate getting my nails done,” she said. “I just hang out with my friends, normal kid stuff.”

She added that though food is the way to her heart, she prefers Hot Cheeto Puffs.

With the clock racing on her high school career, there is still at least one more game left to be played.

The Lady Highlanders face Long Beach Wilson on Friday, and Brooke may be called upon to shoulder the load offensively.

“If she is able to solidify her presence on the field and make sure that she is a very dangerous presence against other teams, then we do have a shot to win,” Sanger said.

He knows she will have a lot of pressure, but he knows she can handle it.

Leadership, teamwork and mental preparation will lead to success, and Brooke is confident this team has the DNA to get there.

Of her thoughts on the Friday’s matchup, she simply said, “I want it to be the upset of the year.”

Comments Off on Athlete Spotlight: Brooke Mays powers La Habra’s offense

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lady Highlanders win sets up city rivalry showdown for playoff spot

Posted on 14 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra's Maya Langarica controls the ball while working against a Buena Park midfielder during La Habra's 3-0 win, Thursday afternoon.

La Habra’s Maya Langarica controls the ball while working against a Buena Park midfielder during La Habra’s 3-0 win, Thursday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

Slow to start but finishing strong, the Lady Highlanders are still alive for a guaranteed playoff spot. After learning about a potential play-in game Friday between La Habra and Sonora, the Lady Highlanders handled their business against Buena Park, winning 3-0.

With the win today and Sonora’s 4-0 loss to Sunny Hills, the two city rivals will meet up Friday afternoon at La Habra High to determine which will take the No. 3 spot out of the Freeway League.

“To me it seems a little bit sketchy that all of a sudden now they find out, after we beat Sonora, now something miraculous comes up,” head coach Matt Sanger said after the win.

The scenario was set up after it was determined that Fullerton would forfeit both of its results against Sonora, which turned Sonora’s lone tie into a win. Both teams finished 5-5-0 in league play.

The Lady Highlanders learned the news right before kickoff. The news appeared to impact the Lady Highlanders aggressiveness early.

“We had a lot of wind knocked out of our sails, [because] we have to play Sonora again tomorrow,’” Head coach Matt Sanger said.

The Lady Highlanders started out hesitantly squandering chances with light defending and space, but in the 21st minute they struck for their first goal.

Kayla Delgado scored in the 21st minute on a feed from Brooke Mays. The Lady Highlanders were able to dribble the ball all the way up to the net, before finally creating the open look for Delgado.

La Habra was able to carry a 1-0 lead into halftime and it was smooth sailing from then on. Cortney Gonzalez sent a rocket to the back of the net for the Lady Highlanders to give them a 2-0 lead.

Mays collided with the Buena Park keeper in the air fighting for a ball. On the play, the Buena Park keeper was left on the ground, while the ball that Mays hit rolled into the net.

The Buena Park keeper did not return to the game and was replaced with a substitute.

La Habra rested many of their starters in order to prepare for a game Friday.

“Three games in a week is tough, so whichever team can manage that best should come out focused tomorrow,” Sanger said. “Tomorrow we know that they are going to come out hard, that they are going to come out excited. When we played them on Tuesday, I think we played them at their best. That was the best Sonora game I’ve seen in a couple of years.”

Comments Off on Lady Highlanders win sets up city rivalry showdown for playoff spot

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Heralds senior forwards play big part in strong season finale

Posted on 14 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Whittier Christian boys’ soccer senior forwards Malik Marshall and Matt Rada certainly ended their brief stints with the Heralds’ soccer program with a bang.

Both forwards scored twice for the Heralds, leading to a 4-2 win over Village Christian on Senior Day and the team’s season finale, Thursday afternoon at home.

“We just wanted to have fun, with it being Senior Day, this was all for them,” said Matt Rojas, Whittier Christian head coach. “I didn’t need to say much, gameplan-wise, they just went out and had fun.”

Marshall, who missed the preseason because of a CIF transfer rule, has enjoyed playing the Crusaders this season, scoring four total goals in two games against Village Christian.

Rada, who just completed his first and only season in the Whittier Christian soccer program, was one of Whittier Christian’s most effective forwards and proved it Thursday, scoring two goals thanks to good positioning.

Overall, it was a good send off for Whittier Christian’s nine total seniors as the Heralds controlled and pressured for the majority of the afternoon.

“I think they got really comfortable, whether it was scoring goals or capitalizing on opportunities,” Rojas said. “They figured out the ins and outs of how to get those opportunities.”

However, the day wasn’t without a mistake or two. The Heralds gifted Village Christian midway through the second half with an own goal in the 60th minute.

Four minutes later, Village Christian turned up the pressure as defender Troy Klien knocked a header past Chase Gray, who was in net for the Heralds in the second half.

Once leading 3-0, the Heralds now had to fight off a potential rally by the Crusaders.

“They gave us a scare, but I had faith that the boys would get it going again,” Rojas said.

Marshall ended the threat in the 77th minute by tapping in a rebound goal after a shot by forward Dylan Murphy bounced off the near-side post.

Marshall put the Heralds on the board in the 24th minute by creating space and firing a shot to the right side past Village Christian keeper Aaron Lopez.

Two minutes into the second half, Whittier Christian’s Aaron Sanchez dumped a ball into the box, but Lopez failed to secure it. Rada was there to push the ball into net for a 2-0 lead.

Rada struck again in the 53rd minute with a shot from the right side that bounced off Lopez’ hands and into the near-side.

“I thought we should have had a few more scores, if we had started the game the same way we ended it, it would have been a different story,” Rojas said.

Despite allowing four goals, Lopez stopped plenty of other chances by the Heralds with some spectacular close-range saves.

The Heralds finished their season with a fourth place finish in the Olympic League. In Rojas’ first year, the team made progress throughout, despite only earning three wins.

“From the beginning, the main thing was being disciplined, I knew I had a good group of guys, it was just being patient and waiting for our opportunities,” Rojas said. “As the season went on, I realized that I needed to be a little more patient, a turnaround doesn’t happen overnight. I think we made a lot of progress, it didn’t quite show in the results, but we learned a lot as a team and we can take a lot of that into next season.”

Comments Off on Heralds senior forwards play big part in strong season finale

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Highlanders can’t find finishing touch against Troy

Posted on 08 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

La Habra midfielder Israel Alvarez gets tangled up with Troy's Nick Bollier as they chase after a loose ball during the second half of the Highlanders' 1-0 loss at Troy, Friday afternoon.

La Habra midfielder Israel Alvarez gets tangled up with Troy’s Nick Bollier as they chase after a loose ball during the second half of the Highlanders’ 1-0 loss at Troy, Friday afternoon. Photos by Jay Seidel, La Habra Journal

by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Hopes for a playoff spot went downhill for the La Habra boys’ soccer team after it fell to Troy 1-0, Friday afternoon at Troy High.

While both teams created a handful of chances, Troy benefitted from a lucky bounce in the first half and held on for the victory.

“We were moving the ball around and creating chances, we just couldn’t get that tying goal,” said Earvin Aleman, La Habra co-coach.

The Highlanders had four big opportunities in the first half with two corner kicks and two free kicks within a five-minute span.

The closest La Habra got on any of those opportunities was Israel’s free kick in the 20th minute, which started just outside the box and was saved by Troy goalkeeper Kevin Schulte on the near side.

The chances were a result of La Habra’s aggressiveness after Troy put in its goal in the 17th minute.

“Up to that point, I felt that Troy was controlling the game,” Aleman said. “We needed to put one of those in to put them on their toes because I felt like the last 20 minutes of the first half and most of the second half, we controlled the game.”

Troy Midfielder Tommy Nguyen crossed a ball in to Nick Bollier, whose shot ricocheted off a defender and into the left side of the net.

La Habra goalkeeper Richie Ruiz was ready to defend the shot before it was redirected.

The Highlanders had two great chances to try to tie the score in the second half.

La Habra's Kolby McInally shields the ball away from Troy's Tommy Nguyen during the second half of Troy's 1-0 win, Friday afternoon.

La Habra’s Kolby McInally shields the ball away from Troy’s Tommy Nguyen during the second half of Troy’s 1-0 win, Friday afternoon.

In the 52nd minute, a free kick by Alvarez sailed over Schulte’s head and toward the far side, but bounced off the post.

After the Warriors failed to clear, a shot by Kolby McInally was blocked by a defender.

Later in the half, the Highlanders’ Charlie Aleman took possession and pushed down field before attempting to push a through ball up top to Chris Valencia.

However, the Warriors got a piece of the pass and cleared it out.

Toward the end of the half, frustration began to mount for the Highlanders, which led to more individual play.

“I think they were just a little frustrated, there were some calls that could have gone here or there,” Aleman said. “But I think just having those chances and not being able to put them away, that was where most of it came from.”

The Highlanders currently stand at 5th in the Freeway League, one game behind Sonora, which beat Buena Park 2-0, Friday afternoon.

The two city rivals will meet up for the second time this season, next Tuesday at La Habra High.

The Raiders took the first meeting, 4-1 at Sonora.

“They’re the same team, but I feel like the last two or three games, we’ve been playing our best soccer,” Aleman said. “Usually when people talk about Troy, they always talk about them destroying teams here, but I feel we played our game and forced them to make adjustments. Hopefully we can carry that.”

Comments Off on Highlanders can’t find finishing touch against Troy

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sonora suffers tough road loss, La Habra evens series with Sunny Hills

Posted on 05 February 2014 by La Habra Journal

IMG_6681by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

For nearly 70 minutes, the Sonora boys’ soccer team made league-leading Fullerton look like just another league opponent.

The Raiders dominated the midfield, which led to an increased number of scoring opportunities, but Fullerton goalkeeper Cesar Herrera was up to the challenge in shutting out Sonora’s potent offense.

After weathering Sonora’s storm, the Indians finished on a flurry, scoring three goals in the final 11 minutes for a 3-0 win at Fullerton, Wednesday afternoon.

“These games are really hard because, for all intents and purposes, we dominated them,” said Cory Witt, Sonora head coach. “We didn’t give up 10 minutes, but after that [first] goal, it was very deflating. We must have had seven quality chances, maybe eight today.”

Fullerton (15-3-3, 5-1-1) tallied its first score in the 69th minute off a corner kick to the head of defender Sammy McKay, who was up in the box to redirect the kick to the far side of the net.

One minute later, Sonora midfielder Juan Villalobos got a through ball up to forward Giancarlo Oros, but the forward’s shot went directly to Herrera who bumped it over the cross bar.

The Raiders’ ensuing corner kick was cleared. Four minutes later, Fullerton bumped a long throw-in to forward Josh Pilvosky on the far side for an easy score.

Defender Clayton Mohler finished the scoring in the 79th minute when his penalty kick got past a diving Luis Gonzalez.

“I have to give them a lot of credit, they withstood the pressure,” Witt said. “Defensively, they held their ground. I thought they made some big mistakes that we couldn’t capitalize on. I give their keeper a ton of credit, he’s their MVP today, he made some great saves.”

To get to that point, Fullerton had to persevere through a relentless Sonora attack. The Raiders kept constant pressure on Fullerton in the first half to the point where Indians’ defenders scrambled just to clear a ball out of the defensive third rather than start a possession.

The Raiders (5-6-3, 2-4-1) started a string of attacks in the 21st minute when Jose Murillo baited Herrera to come out of the net, but missed solid contact on a cross from Eli Rico-Torres.

The next time Murillo touched the ball, he rifled a shot that was tipped by Herrera and bounced off the cross bar.

The Raiders continued to attack thanks to some extra help in the midfield.

“Our three-midfielder set causes teams fits,” Witt said. “If you don’t adjust your lineup to match it, you’re going to be in trouble. That’s our strength, we have three of the best midfielders in the league.”

Rico-Torres collected a through ball on the left side in the 29th minute, but Herrera came up with the stop.

Early in the second half, a shot by Murillo bounced off a Fullerton defender to the right foot of Rico-Torres, who missed a bit high on the near corner.

Forward Andy Araiza missed an opportunity in the 48th minute after failing to get solid contact on another great cross by Rico-Torres.

In the 56th minute, a header by Rico-Torres off a free kick by Villalobos was saved by a diving Herrera.

The Raiders fall into a fourth place tie with La Habra after the loss. Sonora will attempt to bounce back at home against Buena Park, Friday afternoon.

“We‘re going to get back to work tomorrow and we have to keep our heads straight,” Witt said. “I just told our guys that we just took it to the No. 1 team in our league and the No. 7 team in Orange County. They’re very good and we made them look mediocre and I don’t know what it was, we seemed to get up for this game, which was good. It’s a tough loss.”


It was a day of redemption for the La Habra boys’ soccer team in a 2-1 victory over Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon at home.

For the second time in as many games against the Lancers, the Highlanders took a lead in the first half.

After receiving two yellow cards in the first matchup, forward Joe Salinas got his own personal redemption against the Lancers by scoring La Habra’s first goal.

Ray Flores added a score and the Highlanders led 2-0 at halftime.

La Habra (8-8-3, 2-4-1) shifted its attention to defense in the second half in order to hold on for the win.

“We were able to use the width of the field, when our wings got the ball out wide, they would go at them, which led to us getting balls in the box,” said Earvin Aleman, La Habra head coach. “Their goalie wasn’t coming out as much, which helped with creating our chances.”

In the 20th minute, Israel Alvarez put a solid touch on a corner kick to the near post, which Salinas redirected for a goal.

Later in the half in the 35th minute, Austin Nazer bumped a long throw-in to Flores on the far side for an easy tap-in goal.

“We told the guys that it’s not so much whether we win or lose, but how we come out and play,” Aleman said. “We’re at home, so we’re expected to play our game. I think that was a big thing for us from the very beginning and it carried throughout the game.”

In the second half, La Habra focused its efforts on defense, preventing Sunny Hills (10-5-5, 3-2-2) from executing its offensive gameplan.

“We knew they were a long ball team, so when we had a sense that they were going to send it, we had them drop,” Aleman said. “That’s what they did, they were teeing the ball up, but we were there every time. Ray and Israel really picked it up with second balls.”

The Highlanders will hope to keep the momentum when they battle Troy on the road, Friday afternoon.

“This win boosts us up big time,” Aleman said. “We haven’t been playing bad, but considering the results and the fact that we’re still in it, we still need to take it one game at a time.”

Comments Off on Sonora suffers tough road loss, La Habra evens series with Sunny Hills

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Raiders fall behind early in loss to Sunny Hills

Posted on 30 January 2014 by La Habra Journal

A shot by Sonora's Juan Villalobos gets past Sunny Hills goalkeeper Niko Pedroza in the 73rd minute of Sonora's 2-1 loss, Wednesday afternoon.

A shot by Sonora’s Juan Villalobos gets past Sunny Hills goalkeeper Niko Pedroza in the 74th minute of Sonora’s 2-1 loss, Wednesday afternoon.

Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal

After a rather lopsided win last Friday, the Sonora boys’ soccer team dug itself into a hole, falling 2-1 against Sunny Hills on the road.

The Raiders were shut down through the first 70 minutes, but by then the Lancers were in cruise control.

Sonora’s offense sputtered throughout most of the game, but in the 74th minute midfielder Juan Villalobos scored to cut a 2-0 deficit in half.

With time quickly racing off the clock, the Raiders were desperate to even the score.

“We started cheating a bit, not marking our guys on the wing,” said Cory Witt, Sonora head coach. “You can’t play 15 minutes of that style and expect to win.”

In the 65th minute with a 1-0 lead, Lancers’ forward Nick Vazquez tapped in a perfect cross to give his team their eventual winning goal.

“Our plan is to become a little more offensive minded, possession with a purpose,” Witt said. “You can play east to west, but if you’re not moving the ball north to south from goal to goal, you’re not being effective.”

The Raiders (5-4-3, 2-2-1) wanted to build off an impressive performance from Eli Rico-Torres who put in five goals in two games last week. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Sunny Hills defenders contained Rico-Torres and controlled the pace of the game.

Sonora senior Erik Oliva corrals a loose ball during the first half of Sonora's 2-1 loss at Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon.

Sonora senior Erik Oliva corrals a loose ball during the first half of Sonora’s 2-1 loss at Sunny Hills, Wednesday afternoon.

“We came in with a gameplan and we only played that gameplan for 45-50 minutes of the game,” Witt said.

The Lancers (9-4-5, 2-1-2) played a competitive first half coming into the half up 1-0 with a goal on a set piece by defender Miguel Tapia.

With the lead, the Lancers turned up their defense and silenced the Raiders offense until it was too late.

“We lacked enthusiasm, we lacked energy, we put some good subs in there, they brought some life into our midfield,” Witt said.

With the loss, the Raiders fall to 2-2-1 in league play. The Lancers jumped over the Raiders with the victory and have moved into a tie for second place in the Freeway League.

The Raiders return to action at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon at Troy High School.

Comments Off on Raiders fall behind early in loss to Sunny Hills

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here

Current Issue: