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The Day After Soccer: Path of the leaders

Valencia takes league lead in both boys and girls

Posted: January 24, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 24, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Valencia's Ian Canevari gets upended by West Ranch's Jake Martinez in the first half of the their game on Tuesday at Valencia High. Valencia won the game 1-0.

 

Tuesday was a good day for Valencia Vikings soccer on the boys and girls side.

Both teams came into the day at second place in the Foothill League, and both came out of it in first.

But that’s only a few of the major story lines going on here at the halfway mark of the winter league season.



Boys

With five games in the books and five to play, the league title race appears to have narrowed to three teams — Valencia, West Ranch and Hart.

The Vikings (12-4-2 overall, 4-0-1 Foothill League) are the only Foothill team without a loss, and they pulled off their biggest win of the season by edging the previously first place West Ranch Wildcats 1-0 on Tuesday.

That puts Valencia just a single point ahead of the Wildcats (12-4-2, 4-1-0) in the standings.

Senior Zach Klindworth scored late in the game and Valencia’s defense held strong the rest of the way through.

“I find beauty in defending,” said Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio after the game. “We work very hard on defending. We’re very proud of the way we defend, and today we did it. We had a shutout against a very, very good West Ranch team.”

On the other sideline, West Ranch head coach Fred McGinn said his defense got caught out of position a few times in the second half of the game, and it eventually cost them.

All in all though, he said it’s not worth worrying about a loss at this point in the season.

“We all know this goes to the last game (of league),” McGinn said.

Across town at Canyon High, the Hart Indians took care of its business in a 3-1 win over the Canyon Cowboys on Tuesday.

That keeps Hart (11-3-2, 3-1-1) very much in the conversation for a Foothill championship.

The Indians got two goals from Harrison Sidell and one from Derek Waldeck, with assists from Brayon Rodriguez and Riley Waldeck.

Hart got plenty of offense even without its talented senior forward Nico Ferrero, who is no longer on the team and will not return this season.

“He had some personal issues at school and I’m not one to comment on it,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel of Ferrero, who was the Foothill League’s co-leading scorer last season.

After opening league play with a 2-0 loss to West Ranch on Jan. 8, Hart will have a chance for a rematch at West Ranch High Friday at 3:15 p.m.

“So many different things we’ve gone through this year,” Jovel said. “We just try to play along and use the kids we have this year and that’s all we can do at this point.”

Canyon (6-12-4, 0-4-1) remained winless in league and fell to last place with Tuesday’s loss.

On Tuesday’s final boys soccer game, the Saugus Centurions played to a 1-1 tie with Golden Valley.

Justin Dulay scored the lone goal for the Grizzlies in the first half. Saugus (4-8-4, 1-3-1) remains in fourth place and Golden Valley (5-9-3, 0-3-2) moves ahead of Canyon for fifth.



Girls

Though Valencia is now the team on top, it was Canyon that provided the most surprising result from Tuesday.

The Cowboys defeated Hart 1-0, giving the Indians their first loss since a 4-0 setback to Harvard-Westlake on Dec. 10.

After the teams battled back-and-forth for the majority of the game, Canyon’s Mari Kneisel was the one who finally found the back of the net with just six minutes to play.

She took the ball down the right side, sped past two defenders and beat the goalkeeper one-on-one for the score.

“Both teams possesed well, worked the ball, and it came down to who was going to be able to finish their opportunities,” said Canyon head coach Derek Rusk.

Rusk also said Kristina Watanabe, Kendall Bietsch and Kayla Danforth were big factors on defense to help preserve the shutout.

Canyon’s win, coupled with Valencia’s 5-0 drubbing of West Ranch on Tuesday, allowed the Vikings (10-1-5, 3-0-2) to move ahead of Hart (9-3-6, 3-1-1) in the standings. It also put the Cowboys (7-6-3, 3-1-1) in a tie for second place.

Also in the category of surprising results on Tuesday was Golden Valley’s 0-0 tie with Saugus.

Grizzlies goalkeeper Jordan Burrow recorded her second shutout of the season in the process.

After coming into the league season on fire, Saugus (16-2-2, 1-2-2) is now fourth place at the midway point of league play.

“I don’t know (what’s wrong). If I knew I would fix it,” said Saugus head coach Natalie Helgeson. “And we’re trying to fix it.”

To try to right the ship, Helgeson said she will shift the lineup around to a certain degree by changing which players will attack and which ones will stay back on defense.

More than anything, she said, it will come down to the experienced players displaying consistency.

“I can yell and scream and give them pep talks all I want,” Helgeson said. “It has to come from the girls.”

Meanwhile, Golden Valley (4-8-4, 0-3-2) and West Ranch (4-6-3, 0-3-2) are tied for fifth place.


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