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Wildcats win to get in

West Ranch boys soccer claims last CIF playoff spot

Posted: February 13, 2009 6:48 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2009 4:00 p.m.
West Ranch's Sergio Torres celebrates the game-winning goal Thursday at West Ranch High. West Ranch's Sergio Torres celebrates the game-winning goal Thursday at West Ranch High.
West Ranch's Sergio Torres celebrates the game-winning goal Thursday at West Ranch High.
One way or another, Foothill League boys soccer history was going to be made Thursday afternoon at West Ranch High.

As Golden Valley took on West Ranch on the last day of the regular season, the two teams were battling for the final playoff berth from the Foothill League with the winning team advancing to the postseason for the first time in either school's brief history.

After 80 minutes, it was the Wildcats (9-7-6, 4-3-3) who placed their name in the history books as the first of the two newest schools in Santa Clarita to net a playoff berth.

"It means everything," said West Ranch head coach Mo Burgess of the Wildcats making the playoffs. "We talked at the beginning of the year that we are all making history here. These guys knew what they were doing and it's big to do this."

The Wildcats came out of the gate roaring through the Grizzly (8-7-5, 3-4-3) defense, getting eight shots on goal in the first half.

Just three minutes into the game, the Wildcats' Felipe Restrepo launched a free kick just over the crossbar, but it set the tone for the half.

In the 13th minute, Sergio Torres gave West Ranch all the cushion it would need.

The Wildcats' Jacob Jordan dribbled the ball into the corner and gave Cameron Nelson a strong cross to the middle of the field where Nelson ripped a shot at the net. The Grizzlies' goalkeeper dove to block the ball and tipped it out of the net, and right to Torres, who found the back of the net on the rebound.

"I'm so happy I scored because it means we are going to the playoffs," Torres said.

West Ranch failed to capitalize on two more offensive chances late in the half, but they weren't necessary as the Wildcats' defense made Torres' goal stand.

Golden Valley could only muster three shots on goal in the final half.

The Grizzlies has such a promising start to the year. Through the first five games in the Foothill League, the Grizzlies were 2-1-2 and in position for a playoff berth. However, a 1-3-1 record to end the year did Golden Valley in.

"There is nothing to say. It was all said on the field," said Golden Valley head coach Phil Lopez. "It hurts. It is all about making the playoffs and if you don't, its a sad day. There is always next year though."

On the other side of the field, West Ranch used a three-game winning streak to finish the year and squeeze into the playoffs - something almost unthinkable just a week ago.

"We talked about it last week. We knew we had to win all three remaining games to make the playoffs," Burgess said. "So our playoffs started last week against Valencia."


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