Spartans at the top

Last year, the La Cañada High School boys' soccer team won the Rio Hondo League title and made it to the semi-finals of the CIF tournament postseason. Reigning All-Area boys' soccer coach of the year Jordan Jones is looking for a repeat performance in 2008 — and so far he's got it.

Last Friday, the Spartans hosted league rival San Marino and defeated them 3-0 to boost their Rio Hondo record to 4-0, a good start to the season's campaign.

“We're treating San Marino like any other game,” Jones said previous to his team's win on Friday. And like any other game this season, the Spartans took control of the field and came out with the win.

La Cañada has also defeated Blair, 1-0, and Monrovia, 2-1. And prior to the big San Marino shut-out, the Spartans beat visiting Temple City, 5-2.

The first 20 minutes against Temple City was a battle, with neither team really controlling possession and too many passes ending up at the wrong feet.

La Cañada broke out of the funk in the 20th minute when forward Garret Grey launched a shot from just inside the penalty box. The Temple City goalkeeper punched it out, but Spartan co-captain Kyle Campbell was right there for the rebound and the score.

The scoreboard boost ignited the Spartans on the field and after several more offensive attacks, they left the first half with a comfortable 4-1 lead.

Even with the hefty score, Jones considered the Spartans' many missed opportunities.

“Our play has been that way,” he said. “We've had a lot of chances but we're not finishing. We just need to practice more.”

The second half brought more of an offensive battle for the Spartans as they dominated the ball in their scoring half. One run by Temple City, however, had Spartan goalkeeper Carey Speck on the defensive.

After a high chip shot from the far right, Speck was back-pedaling to make the save when he leaped backward, headfirst into the left goal post. Play stopped to help the injured Speck off the field, but he returned to finish out the game just minutes later.

Campbell scored another goal, his fourth of the game, in the 56th minute, wrapping up scoring for the match.

“I expect Kyle to score every game,” Jones said. “Today he had four, that was just the way the game unfolded. He's a playmaker.”

The Spartans next visit Monrovia tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 3:30.

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