It’s an athletic ritual that has grown almost tiresome: the dousing of the winning coach with the team’s liquid refreshments after a victory.
But after the El Toro High School girls’ soccer team defeated Bolsa Grande, 4-0, in the Ocean View Tournament in December, the tradition was given a new spin. When senior captain Shawn Viloria dumped water on El Toro Coach Kerry Krause, it was retribution.
El Toro, the top-ranked team in the Southern Section Division 4-A, had dominated its opponent in a preliminary tournament game. In the first 8 minutes, Viloria scored two goals, El Toro led, 4-0, and Krause, in an effort to hold down the score, took Viloria out of the game.
But Viloria wanted more, and in the second half she asked Krause to let her play again.
“He put me back in and said ‘I could score one more goal,’ ” Viloria said. “But he put me in at sweeper so I couldn’t.
“After the game I sneaked behind him and threw the water all over him.”
Viloria 1, Krause 0.
“I was going to put her at goalkeeper but she wouldn’t go,” Krause said. “I didn’t realize she was punishing me. Don’t worry she’ll get hers.”
Welcome to the offbeat world of El Toro girls’ soccer, where a sense of humor isn’t quite as important as your skills with the ball.
The Chargers, defending Division 4-A champions, are dominating their competition in their quest to win another championship. They have won the titles of the Irvine, Cerritos and Ocean View tournaments and had won all 17 of their games before the start of South Coast League play last week. Mission Viejo and Dana Hills, ranked Nos. 2 and 10 in the division, each tied El Toro last week but the Chargers (17-0-2, 0-0-2 in league) outshot each opponent.
El Toro is a well-balanced team that relies on a strong defense led by Lesli Steinert, the division’s defensive player of the year last season. But Viloria is the heart of a powerful offense. In 27 games last season, she had 31 goals and 20 assists and was named 4-A offensive player of the year and The Times’ Orange County player of the year.
She’s slightly ahead of that pace this season, with 26 goals and eight assists in the Chargers’ first 19 games.
“She is one of the finest offensive players I’ve ever seen,” Krause said. “With the ball she’s the best.”
But Krause stressed that Viloria is helped by El Toro’s balance. Fourteen of the 17 field players have scored the Chargers’ 68 goals this season. Viloria has the most, but Denise Kenyon and Shannon deAvila each have eight, and Jenni Murray has four.
“Because it’s a team game, individual statistics don’t mean a lot,” Krause said. “It’s nice to have someone scoring a lot, but if you have only one player scoring, you have big problems.
“She’s scoring a lot because she’s got a good cast of support. I think that’s the key because if she didn’t, opponents would be able to mark her out.”
No doubt Viloria would have scored more goals if it hadn’t been for Krause, in his first season at El Toro after coaching seven years at Laguna Hills.
But Krause is a strident foe of goal inflation. Against outmatched opponents, Krause removes Viloria after the game is in hand. Often it is against Viloria’s wishes.
“Sometimes it bothers me,” she said. “But I guess I understand where he’s coming from.”
Not surprisingly, Viloria’s scoring total has become the subject of humor between Viloria and Krause. Krause claims he has never had a player score more than 20 goals in a season and started counting backward when Viloria hit that mark this season.
“I hate those stats where you see a kid scoring eight goals in a game,” Krause said. “But if it’s 5-4 and Shawn scored all five goals, do I have any problem with that? No way.”