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Prep soccer: SCCS can’t find equalizer

Cardinals drop Heritage League match

Posted: January 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Chris Marquez (5) takes a pass as Milken defenders Mitchell Aftalion (24) and Glen Lipschitz close in Thursday at Canyon Country Park.

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The Santa Clarita Christian boys soccer team couldn’t overcome goals in the first and second halves by Milken Community High School of Los Angeles and lost 2-1 on Thursday afternoon at Canyon Country Park.

The teams played a fairly even first 18 minutes before the Wildcats’ Brandon Yeshoua stole the ball in the midfield and raced into the attacking zone.

Yeshoua found teammate Glen Lipschitz on the left side of the 18-yard box where the senior put the ball in the back of the net for a 1-0 Milken lead.

Rather than relax after the early goal, the Wildcats became more aggressive.

Milken began to get the better of the possession offensively, and began to swarm the Cardinals’ forwards on defense.
“I was very pleased. (Staying aggressive) was the goal,” said Milken head coach Ryan Hosler. “We were able to get one (goal in the first half). We would have liked to get more.”

The Cardinals (4-3-2, 0-2) tried to equalize on the foot of striker Daniel Stratton — who was playing despite suffering a hip flexor earlier in the week.

The Wildcats (1-0 in the Heritage League), though, tightened their defense by keeping extra defenders back to cover Stratton whenever he touched the ball.

“(Their coach) was definitely trying to push me to my right. I can shoot with either foot, but my left is my specialty,” Stratton said. “I keep faking it with my right until I can get a shot with my left.”

For most of the match, though, Milken successfully kept the ball off Stratton’s left foot, with Wildcats’ defender Josh Simmons continually in position to clear the ball down field.

“His left foot is lethal,” Hosler said of Stratton. “We wanted to push him to his weak side.”

Milken struck for the second goal of the game 20 minutes into the second half when Ari Spitzer took a pass in the box, beat two SCCS defenders and put the ball away near post for a 2-0 lead.

The Cardinals continued to press for their first goal of the game before Stratton came through in the 31st minute of the second half.

His strike from 18-yards out sailed into the top-left corner of the goal to pull the Cardinals within one goal.

And while the Cardinals weren’t able to score the equalizer before time ran out, SCCS head coach Steven Cooper was OK with the performance.

“We didn’t play well,” he said. “We scored a goal at the end, which shows they didn’t stop ... If we played terrible and we won, I’d be more upset.”

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