Boys soccer: Tars' week on the brink

Barry Faulkner

While the Costa Mesa High boys soccer team continues to have a leg

up on its second straight Pacific Coast League championship, Newport

Harbor High can clinch the school's second CIF Southern Section playoff

berth in the last five seasons with a pair of Sea View League triumphs

this week.

Coach Kevin Esparza's Sailors (7-6-2, 3-2 in league) are in second

place, four points behind powerful Woodbridge (18-1, 5-0). So,

Woodbridge, idle Friday, can clinch at least a tie for the title with its

next win, a Harbor loss, or two Warrior ties.

Newport, however, enters Wednesday's road game at last-place Irvine

(2-10, 0-5) three points ahead of fourth-place Laguna Hills (6-8-3,

1-2-1), one point ahead of third-place Aliso Niguel.

If the Tars, who last made the playoffs in 2000, defeat Irvine, then

top visiting Laguna Hills Friday, they would be assured of finishing no

worse than third.

A Laguna Hills loss to Woodbridge Wednesday, combined with a Newport

win over Irvine, would put the Tars one Hawks' loss or one Harbor tie

from creating an insurmountable advantage in the standings (based on two

points for a win and one for a tie).

The Sailors positioned themselves so favorably by defeating Aliso

Niguel, 1-0, Friday, after enjoying a league bye Wednesday. Sophomore

Will Guzman scored the game's lone goal, as the Sailors outshot the

Wolverines, 10-3. The victory avenged a 5-2 loss to Aliso in the league

opener, Jan. 9.

Newport defeated Irvine, 3-2, Jan. 11, then topped Laguna Hills, 2-0,

Jan. 16.

Mesa (11-3-1, 5-0-1) extended its PCL unbeaten streak to nine games,

dating back to last season, with a convincing 7-2 thumping of University

Friday.

Senior Mike Gardiner scored two goals, one credited to him on an own

goal by the Trojans, while Eli Solis, Billy Lund, Irwin Salas and Brian

Zang, all seniors, as well as freshman Alfonso Pineda, posted single

goals for the Mustangs. Uni (0-5-1 in league) didn't help its cause with

two own goals.

The Mustangs enter Wednesday's visit to Northwood two points up on

second-place Laguna Beach (7-7-2, 4-1-1), three up on the third-place

Timberwolves. Northwood tied Mesa, 1-1, in their first league meeting

Jan. 11.

The Mustangs close out the week Friday against visiting Estancia

(4-11, 1-5), which defeated Uni, 3-2, Wednesday to earn its first PCL

win.

Mesa earned a 2-0 decision over its crosstown rival the first round of

league.

Corona del Mar (5-8-3, 2-3-1) needs a pair of victories this week to

remain in contention for one of the league's three guaranteed playoff

berths.

Coach Pat Callaghan's Sea Kings host Estancia Wednesday and visit Uni

Friday, hoping to close a three-point gap on third-place Northwood.

The Sea Kings defeated Estancia and Uni by 2-0 scores in the first

round, but have lost three straight league contests since, by a combined

margin of 8-2.

CdM is seeking its second postseason appearance in eight seasons, its

first since the 1999-2000 campaign.

Sage Hill (6-4-1, 3-2-1 in the Academy League) enters this week in

third place. The Lightning hosts Capistrano Valley Christian today at

3:15, then faces visiting Calvary Chapel of Downey Friday. Both are

league games.

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