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Canyon finds inspiration

Motivated Cowboys soccer team wins on the road

Posted: January 13, 2009 10:39 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Canyon midfielder David Perez (13) jumps over West Ranch's Cameron Nelson Tuesday at West Ranch High. Canyon won the game 2-1.

The Canyon boys soccer team had a sack full of motivation coming into its league opener at West Ranch High.

In typical fashion, Cowboys head coach Khris Savage took every opportunity to use it.

Canyon played an inspired game, defeating the Wildcats 2-1 in the Foothill League opener.

Now the Cowboys are a notch above the Wildcats in the race for a Foothill League title.

Canyon (5-6-1, 1-0), a team that tends to fly under the radar in the pre-league season because it plays more games away from the Santa Clarita Valley, showed just how much potential it has.

Starting on the defensive side of the ball, Canyon put a halt to any offense from the Wildcats (6-3-3, 0-1) in the first half.

That's where the motivation begins.

Savage had a copy of The Signal's Foothill League Boys Soccer Preview in his backpack to remind his players whose defense was featured.

That would be West Ranch's.

The fourth-year head coach also brought a white board to count the number of shots the Cowboys would take against the shutout-minded Wildcats.

The final tally he got was 15.

None was bigger than Vincent Donato's in the 76th minute.

Donato took a cross on the right side, settled it from his chest, then fired it past West Ranch goalkeeper Billy Morales for the 2-1 lead.

"It was way sick," Donato said of the score.

He was so impressed by the goal because he bent his shot with his right foot, his less-dominant foot.

The goal left the Wildcats feeling sick.

After Alex McCaslin scored a goal 30 seconds into the second half to put the Cowboys up 1-0, West Ranch had to withstand an aggressive charge from the Wildcats.

The Cowboys peppered the West Ranch defense and Morales early in the second half, but couldn't take a more commanding lead.

A header goal in the game's 67th minute by Wildcat Ivan Rudas appeared to slow the game back down to its first half ways.

The game appeared destined for a tie, until Donato's goal.

"We were complacent," said West Ranch head coach Mo Burgess. "Our guys came out for 20 minutes."

The Wildcats were battling some injuries on the defensive side, but Canyon took advantage.

The Canyon defense of Shaun McLaughlin, Donato, Carlos Barragan and Matthew Burgess were able to limit the West Ranch offense throughout as the Wildcats were only able to take five shots the entire game.

Now the Wildcats have motivation for the next meeting, though.

They huddled as the Cowboys took a lap around the West Ranch field after the game - a victory lap if you will.

The rematch is Jan. 30.


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