SOUTHERN SECTION 3-A BOYS' SOCCER PLAYOFFS : El Modena Advances on Martinez's Goal


El Modena's Miguel Tapia goes by a simple coaching philosophy: Let the players play for themselves.

Call it Tapia's Tenet or whatever, but it worked against Mission Viejo Thursday in the opening round of the Southern Section 3-A boys' soccer playoffs. The Vanguards defeated the Diablos, 1-0, at El Modena High School.

"I want them first to play for themselves and then play for the team," Tapia explained. "They are sort of self-coached--once they are on the field, they are their own bosses."

Halfback Jason Martinez took charge for El Modena (12-3-1), the 3-A's 10th-ranked team, by scoring the game-winner six minutes into the first overtime period.

Martinez, a senior, scored his 14th goal of the season by working the ball through Mission Viejo's defense, hopping over fallen goalkeeper Phil Darke, then sending the ball into the center of the net. Darke, who finished with nine saves, had collided with teammate Ryan Pfeiffer as both went for the ball.

"I don't think the fullback (Pfeiffer) thought I could put it in," Martinez said. "That's why he collided with his goalkeeper."

Mission Viejo (7-9-4), the No. 3 team out of the South Coast League, had several scoring opportunities in the second overtime but couldn't convert. Chris Zambukos took three shots in the opening minutes of the period, with one just skimming off the Vanguards' goal post.

With two minutes remaining, Mission Viejo got a break when El Modena's sweeper Matt Young, who had blocked several scoring attempts, grabbed his foot in pain and left the game. But as time ran out, Colin Lidzbarski's shot was caught by goalkeeper Fred Romo to end the Diablos' threat. Romo finished with eight saves.

El Modena will meet Fontana, a 2-1 winner over Nogales, in a second-round match Tuesday.

In other 3-A matches:

Capistrano Valley 2, Villa Park 1--Gary Berry scored the game-winner with three minutes left at Capistrano Valley (20-3-3). David Siekeles scored for Villa Park (12-6-3) three minutes into the game, and Chris Wallace tied the score 10 minutes later.

Orange 1, San Gorgonio 0 (Orange advances on penalty kicks, 4-2)--Juan Viveros, Micah Knorr, Ramon Vasquez and Robert Rodriguez made penalty kicks for the host Panthers (15-4-6). Orange goalkeeper Eric Jaime made eight saves and stopped one penalty kick to post his 13th shutout of the season.

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