Boys' Soccer: Schwartz steps up for CdM

IRVINE — It was little less than a month ago when sophomore Evan Schwartz said he was just having fun and playing on the junior varsity team.

But these days, soccer is much more competitive and intense on the Corona del Mar High varsity team. At first that made Schwartz nervous. But the new team didn't appear to totally intimidate him.

He was excited for his opportunity. Schwartz stepped up with his first varsity goal in his second game to help the Sea Kings beat Northwood, 2-0, in a Pacific Coast League game at Meadowood Park on Friday.

So just how does Schwartz top his performance against the Timberwolves?

"Score two more next game," he said.

He just might. He led the junior varsity team with six goals before league play began and he was called up to the varsity team. He's been one of several CdM players who have stepped up as the Sea Kings (6-5-3, 1-0-1 in league) have dealt with injuries throughout the season.

CdM senior Conor Roche, last season's PCL Offensive MVP who led the Sea Kings with 17 goals, has been out with a hip flexor. Because of hip problems and illness, he's only played "three or four games," CdM Coach George Larsen said.

He played a few minutes in CdM's 1-1 tie with University on Wednesday. Roche's shot hit off the post and Jack Nowak was there to put it away. It was Nowak's 10th goal of the season.

"We don't have a team with the big-name stars like we've had in the past, but we do have a lot of good players and we have depth," Larsen said. "We have been able to sustain a good level with a lot of good players out."

Larsen said he had six players out on Friday. That might make it hard for most coaches to smile, but Larsen had a big grin when he talked about players like Schwartz, Nowak, Davis Case, Chris Von Der Ahe and Reed Wolonsky after Friday's win.

Von Der Ahe marked Northwood's Chase Walmsley throughout the first half. Walmsley is a speedy forward who can punish you if he's set up on a one-on-one situation, Timberwolves Coach Josh Brooks said.

Wolonsky marked Walmsley in the second half of a physical and intense game that included five yellow cards, four for Northwood (0-10-2, 0-2-0). Larsen said Von Der Ahe and Wolonsky both played great defensively.

Case scored CdM's first goal 10 minutes into the game. He connected on a free kick from about 20 yards out. The Northwood goalie got a hand on it, but Case's shot still found its way into the net. The free kick came after a foul on Max Premer, who had missed time with an ankle injury earlier this season.

Northwood nearly tied the game with less than a minute left in the first half. Sean Yoon thought he had scored off a rebound, but the referee called offside.

Schwartz, who wears jersey No. 01, scored 13 minutes into the second half. Jake Kim provided the assist, a nice pass from the corner that landed in front of the net, where Schwartz put it away with a header.

Marshall Fern was injured on the play for Northwood with several of his teammates complaining to officials for a call. It appeared Fern was pushed into the post at the goal during the scoring play. Schwartz's goal was more than enough to ensure the win.

"The way the game was going, there were a lot of fouls so it just would take one set piece or a call by the ref that could've swung the game," Larsen said. "We behaved a little bit different when that second goal came. I thought we finished well."

Goalies Gavin Allen (first half) and Stonor Boyse (second half) helped CdM earn the shutout. They had two saves each. They've had to step up too. Hagen Truninger had been the starting goalie, but he's been out with a fractured rib, Larsen said.

Larsen expects Roche and Truninger to return in the coming weeks, but no date is certain.

"If we get [Roche] healthy down the stretch it will be a big plus," Larsen said.

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World