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CIF soccer: Signs of hope after playoffs

SCCS program still building after loss in second round

Posted: February 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.

For the nine seniors on the Santa Clarita Christian boys soccer team, the last four years have been an evolution.

The team started with just eight players four years ago, but featured 21 on Tuesday in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division VII playoff game at Academy for Academic Excellence of Apple Valley.

After a close, defensive battle, the Cardinals fell 2-1.

But SCCS (11-6-2) isn’t going home deflated.

“I’m disappointed we lost but looking back, all four years, this team has evolved,” said senior Chris Marquez.

The game started out on the wrong foot for the Cardinals, as a defensive mistake led to a Knights’ first goal in the second minute.

The Cardinals rebounded quickly.

In the 10th minute, striker Daniel Stratton sent a cross into the box that went off the head of Cody Agajanian before being knocked into the back of the net by Christian Broadbent.

“We came directly out of the gates a little slower, a half step behind,” Marquez said. “But when that goal happened, we didn’t lose confidence, which resulted in us tying the game up 1-1.”

The game turned into a battle in the midfield — where SCCS was playing without Chad Latch, who left the game in the early minutes with an injury.

But defensemen Ryan James, Timu Saari, Ryan O’Neill and Trenton Garrison stepped up to make things difficult for the Knights (18-3-2).

Both teams found chances, but weren’t able to convert for the rest of the first half.

Cardinals’ goalie Ryan Otto collected 10 saves in the match to keep SCCS in the game.

But in the 44th minute, the Knights scored the eventual game winner off another defensive mistake by the Cardinals.

And while the loss knocks the Cardinals out of the playoffs, SCCS is happy with the way the season turned out and the future of the program.

“I’m very positive and very excited for next year, as well,” said SCCS head coach Steve Cooper. “Next year we’ll be just as strong, and I expect us to be back in playoffs next year.”


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