Even before Tuesday’s Southern Section 4-A boys’ soccer playoff match began, Mike Lapper and Rhett Harty appeared to be on a collision course.
Lapper, a senior defenseman, led a Marina High School defense that had posted four consecutive shutouts. Harty, a senior midfielder, was Servite’s offensive leader.
In the end, Marina’s defense proved to be too much, as the Mariners eliminated Servite with a 2-1 victory in a physical game at Servite.
When push literally came to shove, Lapper won out, mainly because he received more support from his teammates.
Marina had a first-half goal from Darren Fishman, who slipped past defenseman Eric Fischer up the left side. Fishman’s shot hit the cross bar and rebounded into the net for a 1-0 lead 28 minutes into the game.
“Darren was wreaking havoc on their defense in the first half,” Marina Coach Dave McLeish said. “We wanted to get the ball to him as often as possible. We knew sooner or later he was going to get a goal.”
Marina scored the game-winner 28 minutes into the second half, as Servite’s defense was unable to clear the ball from in front of the net. With the score tied, 1-1, Marina’s Mike Sandel slipped a shot between three Servite defensemen and past goalie Tom Nieto.
Marina (15-8-2) was content to play conservative soccer the rest of the way, relying on its defense.
“Our defense can absorb and absorb,” McLeish said. “Servite’s attacks came from 30 yards out, with the exception of corner kicks.”
Twice on those corner kicks, Lapper and Harty collided.
The first time, midway through the first half, Lapper received a cut on his head, but Harty came away with blurred vision. As result, Harty sat out the final seven minutes of the first half.
Servite (17-6-2) had opportunities to tie the score in the final 10 minutes, but each time Marina’s defense made the right plays.
In other 4-A matches:
Damien 3, Mater Dei 2--Mater Dei, the No. 1-seeded team, led, 2-0, at the half, but three second-half goals gave host Damien the upset victory.
Fountain Valley 3, Upland 2--Derek Mahoney scored twice to lead the Barons at home. Upland took a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game, but Fountain Valley (17-5) came back with three straight goals.
Alta Loma 1, Santa Ana 1 (Alta Loma advances on penalty kicks, 5-4)--Rick Oserguera scored in the first half for Santa Ana (7-10-6), and Mark Vaught scored in the second half for Alta Loma (13-6-5).