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Valley Christian advances in familiar fashion in CIF

English: State Seal of the California Intersch...

English: State Seal of the California Interscholastic Federation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Loren Kopff

It wouldn’t be a Valley Christian boys soccer game if there was a lot of scoring and sure enough, that’s what happened in its California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division VI first round game last Friday evening. The Crusaders, who scored 13 goals in the regular season, needed just one in blanking Pacific 1-0 to advance to the second round for the first time since 2010.
V.C., which has been involved in seven 1-0 games and two scoreless ties, improved to 9-8-2 overall. Although the Crusaders haven’t scored much, the defense has been holding its own, yielding 17 goals including seven straight shutouts.
“We’ve got some solid defensive players in the back,” said V.C. head coach Caleb Lawrence. “We’re actually missing our right back today [senior Nathan Ramos] which would have been fun to have him. He was hurt but I was hoping we could win the game and he could play next Wednesday.”
V.C. took only three shots on goal in the first half with the first not coming until the 17th minute when a header from junior forward Nick Dupuy went high and right of the net. Five minutes later, a shot from junior forward Jonathan Ramos sailed above the crossbar and in the 28th minute, Ramos received a pass from Dupuy and broke loose from the defense. But his shot again was too high.
The intensity from both teams, who were whistled for a combined 17 times, increased midway through the second half when sophomore midfielder Blake Allen was given a yellow card for throwing the ball in the ground in disgust. He had to leave the field but minutes later, returned to action and ended the scoreless tie with a header from Ramos. It’s the first goal of the season for Allen.
“Blake is a quality player,” Lawrence said. “We have one or two guys who have a little temper. They love the game, they love the sport and you saw the temper come out. But I knew we needed him out there in terms of our attack and he was in the right place at the right time.”
Again, it was just one of three shots on goal in the second half as the Pirates, the third place representatives from the San Andreas League, were still peppering V.C. senior goalie Walter Dyer for half a dozen shots in the second half.
“They sat about 10 guys; they were pretty unfit and lazy defensively,” Lawrence said of Pacific. “But when you sit 10 guys, it’s hard to find time in space. Also, some of my guys don’t play year round.”
V.C. travelled to Ontario Christian this past Wednesday for its second round game. The two longtime rivals were scheduled to play at Crusader Field on Dec. 4 but the game was rained out. Since 1998, V.C. is 11-3-1 against the Knights. The Crusaders also won the Olympic League for the first time since the 2008-2009 season but still won eight regular season games for the second straight season.
“We lost almost all of our starters [from last season] but we had a j.v. team that went undefeated the year before and I think the character all around from the leaders and the seniors dropping down to the humility of the underclassmen…was just awesome,” Lawrence said.



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