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Prep boys soccer: ’Cats back atop league

West Ranch sweeps series with Hart, sits in 1st

Posted: January 26, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 26, 2013 1:55 a.m.

Hart's Riley Waldeck (20) vies for a header over a West Ranch defender on Friday at West Ranch High.

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There’s nothing like beating your league rival to heal all the wounds of a painful loss earlier in the week.

West Ranch Wildcats boys soccer flipped the script from three days earlier and held off the Hart Indians 1-0 on Friday at Hart High School.

After relinquishing first place in the Foothill League by losing 1-0 to Valencia on Tuesday, the Wildcats jumped right back into the top spot in league with their win combined with Valencia’s 0-0 tie with Saugus on Friday.

West Ranch (13-4-2 overall, 5-1-0 Foothill League) came into the day one point behind Valencia. Now it’s one point ahead, while Hart remains in third.

The Wildcats also accomplished something it hadn’t done the past two seasons despite winning league titles both years — it beat Hart twice.

“They are our biggest rival in the valley right now, just because it’s always been that way since I’ve been here,” said West Ranch junior goalkeeper Alex Manzo. “So it’s big.”

The third-year varsity player turned in a fantastic performance in goal on Friday. He made five saves, many of which were diving, last-second stops on very promising shots taken by Hart.

“That was incredible,” said West Ranch head coach Fred McGinn of Manzo. “There probably should have been a few goals (scored by Hart). He’s incredible.”

Sophomore Carlos Porcayo scored the game-winner for the Wildcats during stoppage time in the first half and West Ranch’s defense held up to the challenge from then on.

Though the Indians (11-4-2, 3-2-1) had more offensive opportunities through most of the game, outshooting the Wildcats 8-2, it was a Hart mistake that proved to be the difference.

It was late in the first half when Hart goalkeeper Kevin Ponek dove for the ball in the deep left corner of the 18-yard box. The ball squirted out toward a waiting Porcayo, who then curved the ball just inside the far post.

“We made one mistake and they capitalized on one mistake,” said Hart head coach Adonay Jovel.

In the second half, Hart picked up its offensive pressure even more. With 12 minutes left, Hart’s Jonathan Rose had his would-be goal on a header saved by Manzo.

At different points, Anthony Caso and Jonas Reyes also took shots right in front of West Ranch’s goal, but both Hart opportunities went wide of the posts.

“You’ve got to finish chances to win games,” Jovel said. “I don’t care how many chances you get.”


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