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Vikes have their way

Kent scores twice for Vikings in victory

Posted: December 23, 2008 10:27 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2008 4:32 a.m.

Valencia's Alex McIntyre (17) jumps to make contact with the ball during Tuesday evening's match against Alemany High at Valencia. The Vikings beat the Warriors 2-0.

Jason Kent scored both Valencia goals and the Vikings' defense held strong in a 2-0 victory over Alemany in pre-league action at Dr. Paul A. Priesz Stadium Tuesday.

Kent's first tally came 15 minutes into the match after he chased down a long ball in the box, shrugged off a couple of defenders and slid it into the net. Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio said the goal was indicative of the physicality his side displayed.

"I think we did a good job of imposing our will on them physically," he said, "and also our forwards did a good job putting pressure on the ball to create turnovers, which created those opportunities in front of the goal."

Kent and fellow striker Renato Sanchez spent much of the night making life miserable for the Alemany fullbacks, who struggled with clearances and scrambled to halt Valencia's attack.

In fact, a poor clearance led to the Vikings' second goal.

The ball was inadvertently played to Sanchez who touched it in the middle to Kent, who finished the play by slotting it into an open net.

"On the two goals, it was pretty much Renato doing all the work, and the ball just got to me and I just put it in," Kent said.

While the Alemany defense struggled to find cohesion, Valencia (3-1-2) was very organized in the back, as goalkeeper Eric Shannon swallowed up every shot or cross that came his way.

The efforts did not go unappreciated.

"It's nice, because we don't get a lot of opportunities up top," Kent said. "We know we don't have to finish everything because the defense will stop pretty much anything, so it makes it a lot easier for us."

Something else that made it easy was Valencia's patience on the pitch. Alemany (1-5-1) pushed the ball forward on many occasions, but the Vikings were there to absorb the build-ups and launch their own right back in the other direction.

"One thing I want the players to do is be tactically disciplined," Scalercio said. "We'd play the ball, they'd receive it, but we'd be in a good position to counterattack. We did a good job with that."

The Warriors did a good job of possessing the ball after Valencia's first goal, and had several shots that sailed wide of the net. Alemany launched long shots all night to keep the Vikings' defense honest, and the hosts were up to the challenge.

David Dunkel relieved Shannon midway through the second half and had a couple impressive saves of his own, including a rocket shot he caught in mid-air despite moving in the other direction.

Scalercio said that goalkeeping is one of his team's strongest aspects.

"Eric is a really good goalie," he said. "That's the first start he's gotten. He not only does a really good job stopping shots, but he's a leader out there. Dunkel did a great job as well. We have three strong goalies, so I'm really pleased with them."

Alemany didn't help itself by booming balls all over the place once it got into the offensive third.

"We had our opportunities, but we just couldn't find the back of the net, and they did" said Alemany head coach Mark Cilappo. "They put numbers behind the ball, and we couldn't score."

Valencia will take on Glendale at 9:15 a.m. Friday at the Hart Soccer Showcase.


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