As the Edison High boys’ soccer team looks to defend its Sunset League title, it is no secret that a small group of seniors will be leaned on heavily to carry a talented but inexperienced roster.
In Wednesday night’s league opener at rival Huntington Beach, the Chargers laid out their blueprint to accomplishing this goal.
Seniors Jack Morrell and Dustin Voorhees stepped up with one goal each in a 2-1 victory. The contest also featured stellar play from senior goalkeeper Mitchell Wilson, who made a half dozen saves.
Voorhees delivered the game-winning goal in the 73rd minute, fighting through a scrum of players before striking the ball through a slim opening and into the back of the net. The hard-fought score was symbolic of the evening for the veteran forward, who kept fighting for his opportunity before capitalizing at the most opportune moment.
“I just went hard,” Voorhees said. “I tried going forward every time, and eventually, it worked out.”
While Voorhees’ goal lifted Edison (8-3-2 overall) to victory, it was Morrell who provided the highlight of the evening with a rocket in the 32nd minute.
Huntington Beach sophomore keeper Josh Kuo attempted to punt the ball away after securing a save. To the dismay of the Oilers, the send went directly at Morrell, who stopped the ball, set, and hooked a goal past the keeper from 20-feet outside the box.
For Morrell, plays like these are undoubtedly his favorite moments on the pitch.
“It's the most exciting moment,” Morrell said. “You wait for those open shots, and you're like, 'Wow! I finally got one,' because they don't come often during a game.”
We congratulated the seniors for playing like seniors. They both got a goal, and I think Dustin might have been our man of the match.
Edison coach Charlie Breneman
This moment marked one of the few mishaps of the evening for Kuo, who started in place of the injured Conner Henry. Henry, a junior, could likely miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, said his father, Chris.
While the loss hurts, Huntington Beach coach Sean Dick sees a silver lining for next season derived from Kuo’s opportunity.
“It's going to be great for the chemistry of the team,” said Dick, whose team returns to league action at Newport Harbor on Friday. “That's the best part about it. They're going to grow to enjoy both keepers and play for both of those guys, so it's going to be even better for us next year.”
The Oilers (4-10-1) were also handed a glimpse of positivity in the way they responded to a first half that was dominated by Edison. Taking control with a newfound energy to start the half, a much more even match began to unfold, with senior Lance Barker tying the game up on a header in the 71st minute.
Unfortunately for Huntington Beach, the lead would be short-lived. Voorhees came through roughly two minutes later with his game-winner.
As for the Chargers, who should compete with Los Alamitos for the league crown, Edison coach Charlie Breneman is thrilled that his seniors delivered after being handed a pregame challenge.
“We congratulated the seniors for playing like seniors,” said Breneman, whose team plays host to Marina on Friday. “They both got a goal, and I think Dustin might have been our man of the match. He got in a lot of different places, did a lot of defensive work and was very active offensively. They both played like seniors. We don't have a ton. We told our seniors even before warmups that they have to be the guys that drive us forward. So yeah, their performances were big.”
JOSH CRISWELL is a contributor to Times Community News. Follow him on Twitter: @joshccriswell