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Edison boys’ soccer pulls into tie for first place in Surf League with win over CdM

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Edison’s Nick Morrell, left, celebrates his goal in the 73rd minute with Cole Kennedy (9) and Kai Peterson (10) in a Surf League match against Corona del Mar on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

After a blazing start to the nonleague schedule, it appeared that the Edison High boys’ soccer team would have a good chance to win the Surf League again.

The Chargers won nine of their first 10 matches, and in the Hawks Invitational final, they claimed the tournament title in edging Manhattan Beach Mira Costa on penalty kicks.

Since then, Edison’s resolve had been tested. Over a six-match stretch, the Chargers had just one win. They also dropped their first two league contests.

Edison is back in the position that it hoped to be when the season began, as the host Chargers scored a late goal to beat Corona del Mar 1-0 on Friday night.

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Nick Morrell scored in the 73rd minute when Armand Pigeon sent a corner kick to the back post.

With the win, the Chargers (14-5-1, 3-2) climbed into a tie with the Sea Kings (10-6, 3-2) atop the Surf League standings.

“I think it was just all of us coming together as a team and kind of focusing on taking each game together,” Pigeon said. “I feel like we were a little fragmented after we won the [Hawks Invitational] tournament, but we kind of changed our mentality going into our league, even into the second half of our league, and things are looking up again.”

Moments before the goal, Pigeon again was a threat as he made a run with the ball down the right side. He crossed the ball in, and CdM’s Wally Korbler was forced to make a save in tight against Luke Slavik.

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“He has been a game-changer,” Chargers coach Charlie Breneman said of Pigeon. “He is our leading goal scorer. He is dynamic in his speed and his energy to get places. Really, I think the difference is that he has a willingness and energy to get to different places, and because of that, it creates offense for us.

“He has enough quality to pick out a good pass or score a goal.”

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Corona del Mar’s Hassan Selim and Edison’s Padric Pigeon battle for a ball in the corner during a Surf League match on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The Chargers’ back line of Padric Pigeon, James Broussard, Nick Morrell and Josh Tsuda allowed one quality scoring opportunity for the Sea Kings.

In the 45th minute, Hassan Selim played the ball down to Aidan Holmes. He turned and fired a rising shot that a leaping Bennett Flory got a piece of and sent over the crossbar.

Edison was down two members of its defensive corps, as Chandler Kane and Fin Roghair both missed the match. Tsuda stepped in at right back, and Padric Pigeon challenged the Sea Kings defensively by activating from his left back position.

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Edison’s Nick Morrell takes a shot as Corona del Mar goalkeeper Nik Darrough comes out of the goal to attempt to block him during a Surf League match on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“All season, we’ve struggled with giving up goals that we shouldn’t give up, like garbage goals, some would say,” said Morrell, a center back and captain for the Chargers. “I think tonight, we wanted to finish out strong for that championship.

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“The defense really just wanted to keep it together. Paddy [Pigeon] was taking on guys just trying to keep us safe because of what has happened previously.”

Edison will seek at least a share of its fourth consecutive league championship when it travels to Newport Harbor (10-4-1, 2-2) for its season finale on Wednesday.

“We did not make it easy on ourselves,” Breneman said. “This is where we wanted to be. We’re happy to have an opportunity to try to win league.”

CdM wraps up Surf League play with a home match against Los Alamitos (6-6-5, 1-3) at Bonita Creek Park on Wednesday. The Sea Kings are still guaranteed a share of the league title with a win.

“We’re still in a good position,” Sea Kings coach Damien O’Brien said. “It’s up to us now. For the last two games, I thought the teams that we were playing against wanted it a little bit more than us. We were lacking a bit of desire, a bit of passion in the game.”

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Edison’s Kai Peterson, left, and Corona del Mar’s Chris Casey battle it out during a Surf League match on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photograher)

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