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Prep soccer: Cards’ opponent on another level

Despite loss to higher division team, SCCS pleased with effort

Posted: December 14, 2010 10:05 p.m.
Updated: December 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian soccer player Daniel Stratton (10) heads the ball upfield on Tuesday at Reese Field. The Cardinals lost the game to St. Genevieve 5-1.

Santa Clarita Christian School boys soccer knew it had a challenge on its hands playing against a team one division above it in the CIF-Southern Section.

With that in mind, the Cardinals stayed encouraged after losing 5-1 to St. Genevieve of Panorama City Tuesday at Reese Field.

"When I see some of my star players coming off the field and saying we played great and never gave up the whole way, that's a good sign," said SCCS head coach Steve Cooper.

St. Genevieve didn't waste much time going after the Cardinals (3-3), quickly pushing the ball up field and attacking the goal from all angles.

"We worked on just putting pressure on their defense and we wanted to put them on their heels," said Valiants head coach Mario Merino.

The plan paid off minutes into the game when forward Gian Ortega knocked the ball in from 8 yards away beyond the reach of SCCS goalkeeper Ryan Otto.

The Valiants went up 2-0 about five minutes later when Manuel Martinez kicked it in following a deflection off SCCS defender Trenton Garrison in traffic.

SCCS struggled to keep the ball away from the Valiants, who kept control of the ball with methodical and patient passing all day.

"They were keeping really good possession and getting really good through balls," said SCCS midfielder Chad Latch. "Our outside defense wasn't really ready for it."

St. Genevieve outshot SCCS 21-7, with many of the Valiants' shots requiring diving stops by Otto, who totaled nine saves.

Down 2-0 at halftime, the Cardinals appeared to be back in the game when striker Daniel Stratton broke free about 30 yards away from the goal and guided the ball in the net unassisted for his team's only goal of the game.

The hope of a comeback was short-lived however, as the Valiants answered back with a quick score. This time it was off the foot of Isai Argueta.

The Valiants broke it open midway through the second half when Joash Wampand juked an SCCS defender and snuck it into the left corner of the goal to put St. Genevieve up 4-1.

"They came after us real strong," Cooper said. "We didn't really get a chance to get into much of a rhythm."

The final goal was scored by Ortega, his second of the day, in the closing minutes.

On paper, it was a loss for SCCS, but looking ahead, the Cardinals feel they're in fine form.

"If we keep playing like that, we'll be fine," Latch said.




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