Marina boys’ soccer earns split with Laguna Beach in Wave League set

Marina's Keagan Luzadder (2) and Laguna Beach's Julian Riechel mix it up in the corner during a boys' soccer game on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

As the second half of the Wave League boys’ soccer schedule got underway, Marina hosted Laguna Beach in what essentially amounted to an elimination game for both sides.

First-half goals by Tyler Hyde and Ryan Spielman gave Marina a critical 2-0 win over Laguna Beach on Friday at home.

Ryan Patterson drew an assist on Hyde’s marker, and Spielman cleaned up the scraps at the back side of the goal when another cross was deflected.

Marina's Enrique Guerrero (23) battles Laguna Beach's Jaxson Hutcheon on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“Hyde’s been our center back all season long, so I moved him up,” Marina coach Gabriel Lucatero said. “Spielman has kind of played in the middle, more as a sub. Actually, this game he started, and it was just based on his training in practice. He’s shown that he wants to get after scoring goals in practice.”

In seven prior games against Sunset Conference opponents, Marina had been outscored 11-4. The Vikings had scored multiple goals in a game just once since a win over Bell Gardens on Dec. 28.

“All season long, we’ve created a lot of great opportunities,” Lucatero said. “We just have not put them away, put away the goals, and fortunately for us today, we were able to capitalize on two goals.”

Members of the Marina boys' soccer team celebrate a goal by Tyler Hyde (12) against Laguna Beach on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Lucatero said the Vikings changed formations from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 scheme, which paid dividends in the second meeting with the Breakers. Laguna Beach successfully defended its home turf 1-0 on Jan. 11.

Goalkeeper Hunter McCraine recorded the shutout for Marina, making three second-half saves as Laguna Beach looked to chip away at the deficit.

A desperate Laguna Beach side played the majority of the second half in possession of the ball, but the Breakers were unable to take advantage of the myriad set-piece chances they earned.

Jackson Rodriguez of Laguna Beach shoots the ball in traffic against Marina on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Jaxson Hutcheon and Chase Cuevas handled the free-kick duties. Cuevas delivered a quality strike to the back post in the 56th minute, quickly setting the ball down and then running up to take the shot before the defense could get set, but McCraine was up to the task.

Jackson Rowley also displayed deft touch in the midfield to play the Breakers’ forwards in behind the Vikings’ defense.

“A little too little, too late, I think,” Laguna Beach coach Andy Thomas said. “We did create chances, but they weren’t really testing the goalkeeper, and it was everything into his hands. It was just one of those days where we just didn’t bring any desire and passion, and the game just petered out in the end. Just got what we deserved, I think.”

Marina's Tyler Hyde (12) reacts to scoring the game's second goal with David Hallworth (7) against Laguna Beach on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Marina (6-9-5, 1-3-1) and Laguna Beach (6-10-1, 1-4) both needed to run the table in their final three games to finish at or above the .500 mark to boost their chances for at-large selection into the CIF Southern Section playoffs. On Monday, Marina lost to visiting Fountain Valley 2-1 in overtime, ending that possibility for the Vikings.

Newport Harbor (14-4-3, 4-0-1) will finish atop the Wave League, and Fountain Valley (6-10-2, 3-2) has clinched the league’s second automatic bid. The Sailors beat the Breakers 3-2 at Davidson Field on Monday to wrap up the Wave League title.

Marina's Ryan Spielman runs the ball up the field for a shot against Laguna Beach on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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