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Edison boys’ soccer tops Newport Harbor for fourth straight league title

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Edison’s Luke Slavik, left, and Newport Harbor’s Kaito Zaitsu battle for the ball during a Surf League match on Wednesday in Newport Beach.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

A Surf League championship might have been the last thing the Edison High boys’ soccer team had been thinking about when it dropped its first two league matches.

After its home victory over Corona del Mar last Friday, however, the Chargers suddenly were in control of their own destiny, at least as it pertained to earning a share of first place at season’s end.

The Chargers closed out the regular season with a fourth straight win, and it culminated in Edison winning its fourth consecutive league title.

Fin Roghair scored a goal in the 33rd minute, giving Edison a 1-0 victory at Newport Harbor in the teams’ Surf League finale on Wednesday night.

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What the Chargers (15-5-1, 4-2 in league) could not control was the outcome of CdM’s home match against Los Alamitos. Edison went into Wednesday tied with the Sea Kings for first place.

The Griffins beat the Sea Kings 2-1 in overtime, resulting in Edison taking the league title outright. CdM (10-7, 3-3) and Los Alamitos (8-6-5, 3-3) will play a tiebreaker match for second place and the league’s second automatic postseason berth on Thursday at Huntington Beach High at 5 p.m.

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Edison’s Kai Peterson (10) heads the ball before Newport Harbor’s Kevin Soltero (10) can get to it during a Surf League match on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“When we all met on the first day of training and we talked about what our goals were, we wanted to win a tournament,” Chargers coach Charlie Breneman said. “We did that. We wanted to win league, and we have accomplished that.

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“We’ve been accomplishing those things that we set out to do, and I’m happy that the guys were able to battle through and get the victory tonight.”

The improbable run from a 0-2 start in league play to league champions four matches later was exactly what senior midfielder Ethan Van Buren was hoping for. He has begun to count the time he has remaining with the program, and he is cherishing each moment.

“In the beginning, I didn’t think it was possible,” Van Buren said. “I always knew the potential of our team in the beginning, but last year felt a little too easy because we were just winning.

“Now that it is my senior year, it feels like our games are numbered, so it just feels really good to finish out on a high note.”

The Chargers put the Sailors under siege in the first half, unleashing nine shots and putting five on target. Several great scoring chances presented themselves. In the 12th minute, Marcus Henze played a through ball to Armand Pigeon.

Pigeon got around Sailors goalkeeper Briant Alvarez (seven saves). Unable to get a shot off, he played it back to Henze, who shot it over the net.

Alvarez stopped a close-range shot at the nearside post by Grayson Marquez after he received a touch pass from Kai Peterson in the 27th minute.

In the 33rd minute, Roghair corralled the ball off a corner kick. Then he lofted a cross-cage shot into the top-left corner of the goal.

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Edison’s Fin Roghair, right, uses his head to pass the ball up the field as Newport Harbor’s Ethan Federman bumps into him during a Surf League match on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Breneman referred to the Chargers as a mixed bag in his postgame speech, noting that the team does not have a high-volume goal scorer. Roghair’s goal, which came from a member of the back line, was another example of that.

“Our record was 0-2 in the beginning of the [league] season,” Roghair said. “To come back all the way from that, I don’t know. Everyone kind of came together, and all the pieces fit together.”

It is the first league title won at the varsity level by Roghair, a junior defender. The same applies to junior forward Luke Slavik, who could hardly put his thoughts together in his state of euphoria.

“I’ve been dreaming about this as a kid, back when my brother [Jack] used to play,” Slavik said of winning a league championship. “Words can’t describe it right now.”

Newport Harbor suffered 1-0 losses back-to-back nights to close out the season. The Sailors (10-6-1, 2-4) will now apply for an at-large berth into the Division 2 playoffs after finishing in fourth place.

“Obviously, they’re disappointed,” Sailors coach Ignacio Cid said. “I thought they did well. I thought the boys played really well last night against Los Al. I thought tonight they dealt with the fatigue.

“I don’t think we were top-notch today, but that’s OK. We had to deal with it, and I think that they responded and acted the right way.”

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Edison’s Grayson Marquez, right, tries to get to a ball before Newport Harbor’s Jason Hayward can during a Surf League match on Wednesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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