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Valencia soccer: In with the new

Valencia boys soccer opens season with home victory

Posted: December 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 3, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Valencia’s Zach Klindworth (6) charges the goal with Stockdale defender Santos Mendieta on his back on Friday at Valencia High School. Klindworth scored two goals in his team’s 3-1 victory.

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Valencia boys soccer isn’t young this year.

“It’s new,” said head coach Tony Scalercio, explaining that there are plenty of juniors and seniors, but very few have played at the varsity level before.

Fittingly, all the scoring was done by two of those returning players in Friday night’s season opener.

Senior Michael Fischbach scored in the first half and Zach Klindworth added another couple of goals in the second as the Vikings beat Stockdale of Bakersfield 3-1 at Valencia High School.

“We played really good, especially because we’ve only had a week to practice together,” said Klindworth, whose goal was assisted by Thomas Pugliese.

A few of the newcomers just finished football season a few weeks ago, so Fischbach said the team is still working out the kinks.

Either way, Valencia (1-0) used its defense to start the season off on a positive note, applying constant pressure on Stockdale (0-1) and limiting shots on goal.

“I find beauty in defending,” Scalercio said. “And you can create a lot of offensive opportunities from that.”

That will be the plan this year, and it worked well for the Vikings in Friday’s game.

After Fischbach’s goal, the pace of the game slowed down as both teams struggled to get the ball into prime attacking position.

The drought ended with just over 20 minutes left in the game when Klindworth took the ball on a Michael Guzman pass to the far right side of the box, where Klindworth then angled the ball across the goal and tucked it inside the far post.

Valencia led 2-0.

The Mustangs adjusted their strategy in the second half, deciding to play the ball on the ground more and attempt shorter, less risky passes.

“Looking at the height of Valencia, we were probably giving them five inches,” said Stockdale head coach Dave Atkinson. “So playing the ball in the air is going to be a problem.”

In response, the Vikings continued to cut off passes, stomp out Stockdale threats and clear the ball out of the area.

With Valencia up by two goals, the Mustangs pushed the ball forward aggressively in the final minutes, eventually resulting in a left-footed goal from Kevin Park that deflected off the right post before going in during stoppage time.

Minutes later, Klindworth added icing on the cake when a ball was cleared to Valencia’s half of the field, leaving Klindworth in a one-on-one situation with Stockdale goalkeeper Ben Shenouda.

Klindworth juked him and tapped it in, securing the final score.

Fischbach said there might be plenty more like it.

“We all know each other so we have good chemistry,” Fischbach said. “We’re still finding out how to gel, but we all know each other really well.”

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