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February 4, 2009 > MVAL soccer recap

MVAL soccer recap

By Gary van den Heuvel

The Newark-Memorial boys soccer team continued to steamroll through their foes in the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL), winning twice last week to push their league record to 10-0, along with their gaudy overall record of 14-1-5.

Victory didn't necessarily come easy for the Cougars, in spite of their spotless league season record. In a January 28 game against Irvington played at Washington High School's Tak Fudenna Stadium, the Vikings led 1-0 at halftime on a goal by Jose Rodriguez at the 20-minute mark. Newark rectified the situation by scoring two goals in the second half, the first by Carlos Contreras at the 60-minute mark, and the game-winner by Manuel Villagram six minutes later. At week's end, Irvington (4-5-1) found themselves in fifth place in the MVAL.

Coach Rick Villa's Newark squad finished the week with a 3-1 dismantling of the Washington Huskies, behind two Alfred Navarro goals, and one score by Edward Ramirez. Navarro is the conference leader in total points with over two per game, and Newark's 30 points has already clinched them the MVAL crown and a spot in the NCS playoffs.

A three-way logjam for the remaining two playoff spots exists between Mission (6-4-1), Washington (5-3-1) and James Logan (5-4-1). Prior to the loss to Newark, the Huskies squandered a chance at solidifying their grip on second place, tying last place Kennedy (1-6-2) 1-1. WHS led 1-0 at halftime on a goal by Sean King, but the Huskies couldn't hold on. Kennedy's tying goal coming off the foot of Michael Palomarez. An unsung hero of the game was WHS goalkeeper Elmer Ceja, who recorded 11 saves.

Mission and Logan clashed in a midweek battle at Logan High School, and absolutely nothing was settled in a 0-0 standoff. The stars of this game were the defenders and goalies, Brenden Tostado (3 saves for Logan) and particularly Mission's Ronak Gajjar, who stopped 11 shots.

Logan stayed in the hunt for second place with a 3-1 win over Kennedy on January 30. Mission's 4-2 win over winless American on January 30 leap-frogged the Warriors over Washington and Logan for sole possession of second place, MSJ's 19 points besting the Huskies' and Colts' 16, as of week's end.

The Mission San Jose Warriors girls squad retained their conference lead with two wins, the first a 3-2 thriller over Logan. The Colts held the upper hand for most of the game, striking first on a goal by Erica Ayan. MSJ tied the game before the half on a Kelly Cannon goal off an assist by Amrun Singh. Logan's Gabe Strange put the Colts ahead in the second half on an unassisted score. The Warriors rallied to secure the win on Cannon's second goal, and the winner came off the foot of Madison Hirsch.

Mission (7-1-3, 24 points) had to be happy with their tie game result with the American Eagles at American High on January 29. The Eagles led 2-0 at the half behind two Kelsi Calhoun goals, but the Warriors tied the game in the second half on goals by Hirsch and Taylor Jackson, who is leading the MVAL in offensive stats with 2.36 points per game, and an average of over one goal per contest. American again took the lead on a Deborah Blalock score, but Elisa Chen scored the final goal to clinch the 3-3 result. Both goalies had stellar games in the face of each teams' potent offensive output: Donna Williams made 14 saves for American; and MSJ's Allison Day stopped 13 shots.

American finished the week with a league record of 4-2-4, tied with Logan (5-4-1) with 16 points and a share of third place, following Logan's 4-0 shutout of Kennedy.

The second place Washington Huskies had an up-and-down week, but at least their 4-0 loss to nonconference foe San Ramon Valley didn't affect their league record. The Huskies rebounded from that loss and a scoreless first half against Kennedy (0-11) with a five-goal, second-half explosion. Paige Diamond, who is among the MVAL leaders with over two points per game, had a hat trick, one of her three goals coming on a penalty kick; Lauren Floro scored WHS's first goal; and Julia Bartolo finished the scoring in the 5-0 shutout.

WHS's week ended on a lukewarm note, tying Newark-Memorial 1-1 at Tak Fudenna. Megan Leibowitz scored the Huskies' lone goal, and Amy Schroetlin kicked the game-tying score for the Cougars.

Newark is lurking just outside the playoff bubble at 4-3-2, totaling 14 points, within striking distance of American and Logan's 16 points. Prior to the Cougars' tie with WHS, Newark beat Irvington (3-6) 2-1, behind two goals by Jessica Hernandez, who was assisted both times by Emily Kirk. Sarah Hardin scored the lone goal for the Vikings.

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