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The Day After Soccer: Leaders create distance

Hart, West Ranch boys in front; Saugus girls clinch

Posted: February 5, 2011 10:26 p.m.
Updated: February 5, 2011 10:26 p.m.

Valencia goalkeeper Daniel Adame stops a shot on goal by Canyon's A.J. Rochow, center, at Canyon High School on Friday. The game finished in a 1-1 draw, leaving the two teams tied for third place in the Foothill League with 3-2-3 records.

 

While Valencia and Canyon boys soccer remained gridlocked, the top two teams in the Foothill League further distanced themselves from the field.

Both Hart and West Ranch, which sit at first and second place, respectively, in the standings, won on Friday, which gives both teams a little more breathing room.

Headed into the final two games of the season, Hart’s 6-1-1 league record and 19 points gives it a narrow two-point lead over West Ranch at 5-1-2.

The Indians are feeling the pressure.

“Before, I don’t want to say people kind of took us for granted, but they felt, ‘Oh, it’s going to be easy’ in the first round (of Foothill play), but I think now people are adjusting to us,” said Hart head coach Fausto Arana. “It’s getting harder and harder. Every team is very well coached and they make adjustments very well.”

After those two teams, it’s a drop off.

Friday’s 1-1 draw leaves Canyon and Valencia right where they started the day, tied for third place with 12 points apiece.

Both teams are mathematically out of the running for a league title, meaning Canyon’s three-year run as champion is over.

The Cowboys’ playoff hopes are far from over though, and they’ll have a chance to spoil the West Ranch’s league-title hopes come Tuesday, when the two meet at Canyon.

The Wildcats are coming off a 6-3 defeat of Golden Valley on Friday thanks to a hat trick by Lucas Reilly, two goals from Jacob Jordan and another by Chris Tumasone.

As a team, West Ranch has scored 10 goals in its past two games.

“For the past year and a half, we’ve been working to make sure you’re trusting that your teammates are going to be at the end of it,” said West Ranch head coach Mo Burgess of the sudden offensive surge. “It’s about making that blind pass in the last third and trusting that the guy is going to be there.”

The Indians completed their fifth shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory against Saugus on Friday.

Forward Edwin Medina scored a pair of goals, while Nico Ferrero and Sammy Reyes each knocked one in.

Hart can assure a Foothill title by winning its last two games against Golden Valley on Tuesday and at Valencia on Thursday.

The league title is already wrapped up on the girls side, with Saugus clinching it outright after a 1-0 win over Hart on Friday.

With two games left, the Centurions hold an eight-point lead with an undefeated league record.

Trailing them is Valencia, which came from behind to edge Canyon 2-1 on Friday. The 5-2-1 Vikings got off to a slow start and allowed Canyon to score the game’s first goal.

Valencia answered with second-half goals from Samantha Simon and Kristin Bos to maintain in a solid second place.

Though winning the league is no longer a possibility, Valencia head coach Sean O’Connell knows the importance of the final standings with respect to playoff seedings.

“Not that any game in (CIF-Southern Section) Division I playoffs are easy, but we definitely don’t want to come in third place,” O’Connell said.

Valencia hosts the league-champion Centurions on Tuesday.

In other action Friday, West Ranch beat Golden Valley 2-0. Tiffany Jackson and Valerie Mercado were credited with the goals, which helped the Wildcats move up to fourth place.

West Ranch travels to play Canyon on Tuesday.

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