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SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS
Saturday, March 6
Anaheim Esperanza 4, Bell Gardens 1
Jeff Clark scored two goals as the Aztecs (25-4-2) overwhelmed the Lancers in the Division I final at Cal State Fullerton.
Bell Gardens (18-5-3) had shut out its first four playoff opponents, but Clark gave Esperanza a 1-0 lead nine minutes into the game and teammate B.J. Pugmire scored seven minutes later to give the Aztecs a 2-0 advantage.
Esperanza took a 3-0 lead when Matt Kristoff scored on a penalty kick at the 24-minute mark and Clark gave the Aztecs their final margin of victory when he took a long pass from Pugmire and battled his way past two Bell Gardens defenders before beating goalkeeper Pablo Grajeda with a left-footed shot with 12 minutes left in the game.
The victory gave Esperanza its fourth section title and first since the Aztecs tied Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula, 0-0, in the 1996 Division I title game.
Thousand Oaks 1, Loyola 0
Sophomore Jonathan Wessely of Thousand Oaks scored the first goal of his varsity career at the 74-minute mark to give the Lancers a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles Loyola in the Division II championship game of the Southern Section boys' soccer playoffs at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
Wessely, a part-time starter this season, took a pass from Miguel Morales and banged a right-footed shot inside the left post to help top-seeded Thousand Oaks (27-3-3) win its first section title.
"I was pretty confident," Wessely said of his goal. "I was waiting for the ball to come in because all I had to do was slip it in. I looked at the keeper and I saw that the corner was wide open and I knew I had to put it in the corner and that's what I did."
Although Wessely scored the game-winning goal for Thousand Oaks, senior goalkeeper Kenny Negron might have been the Lancers' best player Saturday as he made four spectacular saves during the course of the game. Loyola (26-5-3), which was shooting for its first section title since 1998, did not allow a goal in its first four games of the playoffs.
Pomona Garey 0, La Palma Kennedy 0
High-quality scoring opportunities were rare in this Division III title game at Cal State Fullerton.
Second-seeded Garey (25-2-2) won a share of its first section title with the tie and Kennedy (15-8-3) won a share of its second consecutive championship after tying Pico Rivera El Rancho, 0-0, last year.
Santa Ana Valley 3, Coachella Valley 3
Sophomore midfielder Joe Hernandez scored the tying goal in the 56th minute for Santa Ana Valley in the Division IV final at La Mirada High, giving the Falcons (18-10-3) their first section title boys' soccer championship.
Coachella Valley (23-4-1) led, 3-2, at halftime, after scoring three times in an 18-minute span. Junior midfielder Joel Chavez scored the Arabs' first goal in the 22nd minute, senior forward Jose Duenas tied the score in the 31st minute, while Chavez scored again in the 39th.
Eduardo Blanco and Cesar Sanchez also scored for Santa Ana Valley. Coachella Valley was playing in its first section final.
Los Angeles Salesian 1, Lancaster Paraclete 0
Junior midfielder Jose Diaz scored off a header with just over 14 minutes left to give the second-seeded Mustangs (23-3-2) the Division V victory at La Mirada and its first soccer championship since 1964.
The game was a rematch of last year's semifinal, which Paraclete won, 2-1, in overtime en route to its first section title. Saturday's final came down to one chaotic play. Salesian senior Mike Padilla drilled a corner kick into the box, which junior David Mora chased down and passed to an unmarked Diaz, who easily directed the ball into the corner of the goal.
It was the only goal top-seeded Paraclete (22-6-4) and goalkeeper Kyle Burkhardt surrendered in the playoffs. The Spirits had a great opportunity with under a minute to play when junior Andrew Hernandez put a free kick on goal that was knocked down by Salesian goalkeeper Bobby Rodriguez. After a brief skirmish in front of the net, a Mustang defender cleared the ball to clinch the victory.
Los Angeles Windward 2, Carpinteria 1
Sophomore midfielder Dustin Minium tapped in a goal during a scramble in front of the net to give the Wildcats (16-7-1) the Division VI title.
Carpinteria (15-12-1), which upset top-seeded Ontario Christian in the quarterfinals, took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute when junior Diego Perez lofted a ball into the box and it bounced over goalkeeper Gabriel Elsner's head and into the net.
Elsner would not get beat again. The junior recorded six saves and made numerous stops to keep the Wildcats, who knocked off both the second- and third-seeded teams, in the game.
Senior Danny Fujikawa tied the score in the 42nd minute. He took the ball on sideline, dribbled into the box and angled a line drive in front of goalkeeper Israel Santillian. The ball ricocheted in off the side post.
Tuesday, March 2
Bell Gardens 3, Quartz Hill 0
Junior midfielder Edgar Garcia scored two goals and the Lancers (18-4-3) posted their fourth consecutive shutout in a Division I semifinal between unseeded teams played in a cold rain at Quartz Hill.
Nestor Solorzano struck first for Bell Gardens when he headed in a throw-in during the 24th minute. Early in the second half, Garcia broke free and chipped a shot from 20 yards over the outstretched arms of Quartz Hill goalie Mike Davis.
In the 65th minute, Garcia, streaking down the middle of the field, took a pass from Robert Ramirez and blasted it past Davis.
Quartz Hill, which knocked off top-seeded La Verne Damien in the quarterfinals, finishes 19-7-1.
Bell Gardens, which has outscored it four playoff opponents, 14-0, will face Esperanza/third-seeded Diamond Ranch Saturday in the final. The Lancers have previously won titles in 1984, '91 and '94, but none in Division I.
Esperanza 3, Diamond Ranch 2 (sudden death)
B.J. Pugmire scored the winning goal in the first two minutes of sudden death to advance Esperanza to Saturday's final against Bell Gardens.
Loyola 1, Riverside Poly 0
Paul Wendel scored in the 34th minute, and Conor Harding and Tim Walter combined for seven saves to tally the 20th shutout for host Loyola (26-4-3). Riverside Poly is 22-5-2.
Thousand Oaks 4, Corona del Mar 1
Junior forward Jason Leopoldo had three assists as the top-seeded Lancers advanced to their first section title game with the victory in the Division II semifinal at Moorpark College.
Thousand Oaks (26-3-3), which was making its third semifinal appearance, will play Los Angeles Loyola (26-4-3) in the Division II championship game Saturday at either Cal State Fullerton or La Mirada High. The site will be determined Thursday.
Corona del Mar (15-4-6) had defeated fourth-seeded Santa Monica, 1-0, in the second round of the playoffs, and defending co-champion La Canada St. Francis, 5-3, in the quarterfinals. But Thousand Oaks controlled the flow of the game from the outset.
The Lancers took a 1-0 lead with seven minutes left in the first half when Miguel Morales scored off a ball headed to him by Leopoldo. Thousand Oaks scored again two minutes later when Chance Myers headed in a free kick from Brian Siu.
The Lancers took a 3-0 lead eight minutes into the second half when Paul Lupanow scored from eight yards out after being fed by Leopoldo and they extended their advantage to 4-0 eight minutes later when Pedro Gonzalez scored after taking a pass from Leopoldo.
Chris Ringstrom of Corona del Mar scored his team-high 23rd goal of the season at the 63-minute mark.
Garey 2, Corona 1
Victor Portillo scored the game-tying goal in the 33rd minute and Cesar Rivera scored the game-winning goal in the 70th minute for host and No. 2-seeded, No. 5-ranked Garey (25-2-1). Joel Gutierrez had the lone goal for No. 3-seeded Corona (18-2-3).
La Palma Kennedy 1, Artesia 0
Trevor Rice scored in the 23rd minute and Scott Loveless recorded his third playoff shutout for visiting La Palma Kennedy (15-8-2), is the defending Division III co-champion. The Fighting Irish tied El Rancho, 0-0, in the Division III title game last season. Artesia is 18-5-4.
Santa Ana Valley 4, Santa Maria 3 (2 OT)
Joe Hernandez scored the game-winner off a cross from Luis Alvarez in the ninth minute of sudden-death overtime to lead host Valley (18-10-2) over Santa Maria (22-4-1) in a matchup of unseeded teams. The Falcons rallied from a 3-1 deficit behind Alvarez, who scored in the 55th and 70th minutes to tie the game. Juan Tolento scored in the 20th minute for Valley, which will play second-seeded Coachella Valley in the final.
Coachella Valley 3, Century 2
Paraclete 2, Nordhoff 0
Dylan Leslie and Elliot Hernandez each scored a goal and Kyle Burkhardt had five saves for his 20th shutout for visiting No. 1-seeded Paraclete (22-5-4), which will defend its championship against Salesian Saturday. Paraclete has four consecutive shutouts in the playoffs this year.
Salesian 1, Garden Grove Pacifica 0
Jose Diaz scored from 25 yards out in the 50th minute, and Alan De La Cruz and Bobby Rodriguez combined for six saves in the shutout for visiting No. 2-seeded Salesian (22-3-2).
Carpinteria 3, St. Bernard 1 (OT)
Mike Harv scored the tying goal in the 60th minute off an assist from Geovany Hernandez for visiting St. Bernard (9-8-6).
Windward 2, St. Bonaventure 1
Jamie Melas scored the game-winning goal on a penalty kick in the 78th minute and Danny Fujikawa headed in the game-tying goal in the 73rd minute for host Windward (15-7-1).