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Prep soccer: Cards full of tricks

Two players score three goals in SCCS league match

Posted: February 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Timu Saari (4) heads the ball away from Pacifica Christian’s Anton Einarsson at Canyon Country Park on Thursday.

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This sort of thing seems to run in the family.

One day after his brother Michael scored three goals in a win for the Trinity Classical Academy boys soccer team, Daniel Stratton scored the last three goals of the game to lead Santa Clarita Christian past Pacifica Christian of Santa Monica 6-0 in a Heritage League contest on Thursday afternoon at Canyon Country Park.

And it wasn’t even the only hat trick of the game.

Cardinals midfielder Chad Latch notched the game’s first three goals to lead the Cardinals (9-5-2, 3-2-0) to an early lead.

Latch received a no-look pass from Stratton in the 24th minute and wrestled the ball away from an opponent before striking the back of the net for the game’s opening goal.

He added another goal in the 29th minute and another in the 35th minute when he found space in the 18-yard box and struck a shot past the goalie to give the Cardinals a 3-0 halftime lead.

On the other side of the pitch, the Cardinals’ defense was just as strong.

“(Latch and Stratton) can score goals like crazy,” said SCCS head coach Steven Cooper. “But if you don’t have a defense to hold onto it you’ll be scoring and they’ll be scoring and whoever scores last will win.”

The Cardinals held Pacifica (4-6-0, 2-3-0) to five shots on goal, while SCCS piled up 16.

“Our guys were a little intimidated coming out against Santa Clarita,” said Pacifica head coach Justin Bailey. “It took them a half just to get their footing in this game.”

The Seawolves played stronger after halftime, notching four of their five shots on goal in the second half.

But the Cardinals, ranked 10th in the latest CIF-Southern Section Division VII poll, remained dominant, as they controlled the run of play for the entire 80 minutes.

Stratton entered the second half determined to get on the board, as the senior striker took three shots in the half’s first eight minutes.

Three minutes later, Cardinal Chris Marquez sent a cross into the box where Pacifica goalie Evan Delano tried, to no avail, to beat Stratton to the ball.

Stratton put a header into the back of the net for a 4-0 lead.

Midway through the half, Stratton notched his second goal directly in front of the 6-yard box before finishing off the scoring with a strike with seven minutes remaining.

With just two games remaining on the Cardinals’ schedule, SCCS is looking to carry Thursday’s play into the postseason.
“I think we’re peaking right at the end of the season before playoffs,” Cooper said. “We’re solid. We’re injury free.”

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