Posted on 16 February 2013 by La Habra Journal
By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal
Behind by a score in the last minute of an elimination playoff game, the La Habra High School boy’s soccer team, out of desperation, pushed extra players forward on offense only to watch one last attempt at a goal bounce off the cross bar.
The Highlanders fell to the Lynwood Knights Friday evening 2-1 in the first round of the Division II CIF-SS playoffs, where the La Habra boys found themselves down late in the game after squandering an early 1-0 lead.
“You just start attacking,” said La Habra Head Coach Stephen Aanderud. “That’s all you could do.”
With time dwindling away, Highlander defensive back, Sammy Lopez, in a last ditch effort, grabbed possession of the ball about eight yards in front of the opposing team’s goal in stoppage time — he had only the goalkeeper to beat.
Settling down and peering up at his opportunity, Lopez, a senior, placed his shoelaces on the ball.
As the shot missed its mark, the crowd let out a collective groan, realizing that time was about to expire.
“It was just really quick, and you couldn’t really think about it. You just got to take the shot, but the shot didn’t come out right, and it hit the post,” Lopez, who has not decided if he will continue playing ball in college, said.
Although the Highlanders started off slow with Lynwood capturing most of the opening momentum, the La Habra boys managed to put the first goal in the back of the net in the 17th minute of the game.
With the ball bouncing around Lynwood’s six-yard box, sophomore Ray Flores managed to put a head on it, placing the ball to the right side of the net and catching Lynwood goalkeeper, Angel Rosas, off guard.
“I got the rebound and finished it,” Flores said.
The score was a momentum shifter for the Highlanders who had attempted one shot before the score and saw Lynwood winning most of the possession early.
But the lead would not last long as Lynwood player Luis Felipe scored the first of his two goals in the game.
In the 34th minute of the game Felipe attacked the Highlander’s defense from the far corner of the field where he made two solid moves to beat two defenders, freeing himself up to blast a shot that bounced off goalkeeper Joel Garcia and find the back of the net.
Garcia started the game in place of junior Richie Ruiz who could not play because of injury, Aanderud said.
“They just outplayed us. They just wanted it more than we did,” the coach said.
Both teams came out strong in the second half, neither dominating in time of possession.
However, Lynwood managed to put in the second goal of the game in the 49th minute.
Receiving a pass from Andrew Jimenez, Felipe struck a low shot to the left goal post for his second and the games final score of the evening.
The shot just missed the outstretched hands of the diving Highlander goalkeeper.
The La Habra soccer team finished the season with a 12-7-2 record, finishing with the best record in the Freeway League, despite what coach Aanderud calls a young team that needed to adjust throughout the season to a different style of play.
Usually relying on quick passes and scoring plays, Aanderud said his team depended more on the long ball this season.
The Lynwood Knights will move on to round two of the division II CIF-SS playoffs, taking on the winner of Santiago/Corona and Thousand Oaks.
Aanderud said his team tended to lose the fighting spirit in them whenever they’d lose a lead this season. He attributed the game changing momentum to having a young team.
“Next year we’re going to have to be ready. When we get ahead, we have to stay ahead,” Flores said.