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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW: Norwalk boys soccer gets good tune-up before league starts in loss to Garden Grove

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter


The end of the preseason saw the Norwalk High boys soccer team play a previously rained out home contest with Garden Grove High. And for the final 76 minutes or so, the Lancers were going toe to toe with the defending California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division V champions.

However, all it takes is one small mistake in front of the net and that’s all the Argonauts needed in a 1-0 victory this past Wednesday. Jason Perez was the recipient of the only goal of the game, which came in the fourth minute as he was able to get a fortunate bounce and get it past sophomore netminder Leonardo Mondragon.

“We didn’t expect to have an easy goal popped in like that,” said Norwalk head coach Vinson Pluma. “It’s one of those things where you have to protect your goal and just make sure you put a foot in front of every ball that’s getting crossed in. It just happened to be a lucky goal for them.”

After that, it appeared that the Lancers were dominating most of the game. Three minutes after the goal, Norwalk senior midfielder Miguel Cabrera had a strong shot saved. In the 14th minute, sophomore midfielder Daniel Felix sent a pass to junior forward Andrew Vasquez whose hard shot was also saved.

Two minutes later, another shot from Vasquez skipped off the top of the crossbar and in the 22nd minute, a shot from junior midfielder Alejandro Amador towards the upper left corner was snagged out of the air. Norwalk outshot Garden Grove 6-4 in the first half.

In the second half, Norwalk added four more shots with the best chances coming within the final 10 minutes. First, sophomore forward Alfredo Flores was inches too high with his shot. Then with two minutes remaining in the game, a free kick from Cabrera just outside the penalty box sailed over the right corner of the net.

“We had some really good chances,” Pluma said. “I’m happy with the actual way they played. We should have had some goals in. But sometimes it doesn’t go our way.”

Norwalk, which has a strong midfield but was missing three starting midfielders against Garden Grove, ends the preseason at 5-2-1 for the second time in three seasons. The last time that happened, the Lancers won the Suburban League and advanced to the quarterfinals. The Lancers have allowed six goals and their only other loss came to El Rancho High, a 2-0 setback on Dec. 8.

“It’s nice to have a game right before league starts,” Pluma said. “But we actually had an interesting break. We were shifted back one week than we normally are, and we’re adjusting to it. But we had a game last week and a game this week, so it’s perfect. It’s what we expected.”

Norwalk will begin league play today against Mayfair High and will welcome Artesia High (6-7-0) on Monday before having its first round bye on Wednesday.

“Sometimes it’s a good sign when you’re playing well,” Pluma said. “But league is different and you have to go one game at a time and build momentum and just make sure that everyone is healthy and able to play as much as they can. Coming off of winter [break], sometimes you get injuries too; you pick up things. I think we’re pretty good right now.”

In other boys soccer action, Artesia will visit Cerritos High today and be home to La Mirada High on Wednesday, Cerritos will visit Bellflower High on Monday before hosting Mayfair on Wednesday while John Glenn High is off today before hosting La Mirada on Monday and travelling to Bellflower on Wednesday.

Gahr High (3-2-1) has not played since Dec. 20 but will host Lynwood High on Tuesday in the San Gabriel Valley League opener before going to Warren High on Thursday. Valley Christian High has won two straight games, both in shutout fashion to improve to 6-6-1 as it visits Heritage Christian High today.


League action will begin tonight in the Suburban League with Artesia (9-5) hosting Cerritos (5-10) and Norwalk travelling to Mayfair. Gahr is 8-7 as the Gladiators will face Santa Monica High on Saturday at Westchester High before jumping into San Gabriel Valley League play on Wednesday against Lynwood. Valley Christian, coming off a 57-44 loss to Villa Park High this past Tuesday to drop to 8-7, hosted Heritage Christian on Jan. 5 and will be home to Ontario Christian High on Saturday before travelling to Capistrano Valley High on Tuesday. Whitney High jumps into Academy League action tonight as the Wildcats entertain Brethren Christian High before going to Los Amigos High on Saturday for a non league contest. Whitney will then visit St. Margaret’s High Tuesday before hosting Calvary Chapel Downey High on Thursday.


All of the league matchups will take place preceding those of the aforementioned boys’ games. The hottest girls team in the area is Valley Christian, which is sitting at 12-3. Gahr is 8-5 while no Suburban League team currently has a winning mark.