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Mater Dei Eliminates Woodbridge in Overtime

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Tony Micheletti scored on a header two minutes into sudden-death overtime to give top-seeded Mater Dei a 3-2 victory over Woodbridge in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section Division II boys’ soccer playoffs Thursday at Mater Dei.

The Monarchs’ game-winner came on a set play after they were awarded a free kick 25 yards from the Warriors’ goal. Bret Corbin drove the ball to within seven yards of the goal and found Micheletti, who broke through three opposing players to head in his 25th goal of the season.

“We work on set plays like that during practice all year,” Micheletti said. “We just look to go for the post on a driven ball and that’s exactly what I did. This was a great game and it could have gone either way.”

Before the game Warrior Coach Jon Szczuka said the winner would go on to win the Division II championship, and that Thursday’s matchup should have been for the title.

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“I think everybody here would agree that it doesn’t get any better than this,” Szczuka said. “They’ll win the championship. It was two great teams battling it out and it takes sudden death to determine the winner. The title game won’t be better than this one here today.”

The host Monarchs (22-1-3) led early when Mike Ugalde drilled a shot from 12 yards past Warrior goalkeeper Doug Allan in the 16th minute.

The Warriors (15-4-5) evened the score at 1-1, when Yigal Kerszenbaum scored from nine yards. Junior Velasquez took a header from Chad Harris and headed it to Kerszenbaum for the goal in the 35th minute.

Woodbridge appeared to have the momentum going its way early in the second half and scored in the 60th minute, when Kerszenbaum beat Monarch goalkeeper Jeff McKeever from 26 yards out to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead.

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Mater Dei tied the score 1 1/2 minutes later, when Micheletti scored his first goal of the game from 16 yards out.

“It was a very tough game and very emotional for me,” Mater Dei Coach Martin Stringer said. “It was a pleasure to be part of it. I feel for Woodbridge and their players and coaches. I know what it feels like to lose a game like this.”

Mater Dei will meet Ventura Buena in the semifinals Tuesday. The home team will be determined by a coin flip today.

In Division III:

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Santa Margarita 1, Laguna Hills 0 (OT)--Ryan Coiner’s header off a free kick from Nick Sparks with two minutes left in overtime gave Santa Margarita the victory. Byron Foss had nine saves for the Eagles to record his fifth consecutive shutout and sixth in the last seven games.

Jeremy Ellis had 13 saves for Laguna Hills (12-11-4).

Torrance 2, Servite 1--Greg Johnson scored the winning goal off Yoichi Hamada’s second assist of the game with 10 minutes remaining for host Torrance (13-10-5). Servite finished 18-5-1.

In Division IV:

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Laguna Beach 1, Lakewood Mayfair 0--Spencer Herbert scored in the eighth minute off a throw-in from Seth Simcowitz for host Laguna Beach (18-4-3), which advanced to the semifinals to play Whittier Pioneer (14-6-3). Unseeded Pioneer tied top-seeded Riverside Notre Dame, 1-1, but advanced on penalty kicks, 3-1.


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