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Calm under pressure

Canyon plays at Bloomington in CIF-SS Div. III second round Wednesday

Posted: February 20, 2009 11:54 p.m.
Updated: February 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Canyon's Jordan Markovich (8), left, shoots the game-winning penalty kick against Lynwood on Friday at Harry Welch Stadium.

With the game on the line, Canyon's chance to advance to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division III boys soccer playoffs rested on Cowboys sophomore Jordan Markovich.

The goalkeeper diving right, Markovich sent the ball low, left and to the back of the net in the 80th minute, giving Canyon a 1-0 win over Lynwood at Harry Welch Stadium on Friday.

"I have to be calm," said Markovich on dealing with the pressure of the moment. "Just let the keeper make the first move."

The young midfielder came through, propelling his team to the next round.

"They made a defensive mistake and we capitalized," said Canyon head coach Khris Savage. "It doesn't always happen that way. ... I couldn't be more proud of the boys."

With the win, the Cowboys advance past the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs for the first time this decade.

Yet Savage was quick to praise Markovich, who gave them the edge.

At halftime, Markovich was moved back to play alongside senior Alex McCaslin to anchor the middle, moving Jared Jens to forward.

The adjustment gave the Cowboys (12-8-2) much-needed stability and improved distribution to their players up top.

Immediately preceding the game-winning goal, Canyon drew a penalty just outside the 18-yard box.

Markovich took the free kick, but the shot was deflected wide by diving Knights goalkeeper Kevin Reyes.

On the ensuing corner kick, Canyon's Darwin Ortiz sent the ball into the box.

On the play, Cowboy defender Carlos Barragan was pulled down, drawing the penalty kick.

Clearly upset, Lynwood (10-9-3) drew their sixth yellow card of the afternoon.

"No comment," said Knights head coach Ed Lopez after the game, still looking off in the direction of the officials. "That game should have gone to overtime."

The second half of the game looked entirely different from the first as the Cowboys moved the ball better and held on to possession.

"They were intimidated in the first half," said Savage of his team. "I yelled at them at halftime, saying, ‘Get out of it. You are just as good as this team if not better. The way we are going to win is going to be off a set play.' I believe a PK is a set play."

The first half featured lackluster play on both ends of the pitch, as neither team was able to get anything going consistently.

"I thought we would blow this team out - a third place team from another league," said Markovich, noting that he thought the Cowboys came into the game a little bit "cocky."

However, the Cowboys also came into the game accustomed to close contests.

The experience gave them the edge.

"We've been in a lot of close games and we've always gotten out them," Markovich said. "We're just used to it."

Canyon plays again on Wednesday at Bloomington High at 3 p.m.


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