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Valencia’s glass is half-full

Vikings eye victory over young Notre Dame as positive

Posted: January 7, 2009 10:45 p.m.
Updated: January 8, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks boys head soccer coach Patrick Thompson put the breaks on any good-feeling Valencia got after the Vikings defeated the Knights 2-0 at Dr. Paul A. Priesz Stadium Wednesday.

After the game, Thompson revealed that he brought up a group of JV players before it and they played a majority of the contest.

To which Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio commented: "I've always been one not to make excuses.

They had some 22 players they brought out today. Whoever (the coach) decided to play, he played."
Scalercio didn't want to take anything away from the performance of his team.

Valencia (4-2-4) played an inspired, aggressive game - one that saw the Vikings take 19 shots and control the ball during both halves.

Valencia got on the board in the 11th minute when Adrian Barrara found Jason Kent 20 yards in front of the net.

Kent then kicked a grounder into the right corner of the net, past Notre Dame goalkeeper Nick Hanulik.

It was the junior's fourth goal of the season.

He played just 15 minutes, due to an ankle injury and the cold, but his play was symbolic of the Vikings Wednesday.

"Just try and get a goal," Kent said of what his aim was in the limited time he was on the field.

That sort of hunger was a result of the Vikings' collective effort to improve their play.

Scalercio said he questioned the team's effort in practice on Tuesday.

That sort of lackluster play has thus translated onto the field.

"I think we played well today," Scalercio said. "We were organized. We created chances. We imposed our will on them."

No matter who the Vikings played - the JV-Varsity Knights mix or whatever - Valencia closed out its pre-league schedule with a game to build upon.

The Foothill League boys soccer season begins Tuesday and a path to the championship appears to be wide-open.

Valencia has some weapons and can choose to use them, for example Greg Drake's big leg in the backfield that can turn the game into keep-away, but went another route Wednesday.

The Vikings kept the pressure on Notre Dame (4-5-1) in the second half, netting a goal in the game's 44th minute.

Caleb Preston took a pass from across the field from Robby Bruza, controlled the ball, then went left corner for the 2-0 lead.

"At practice the other day, coach told us to be aggressive," Preston said. "I don't think we were aggressive (in the past). We're getting better."

Valencia will play Saugus to open up league play on Tuesday.


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