By Alan Der OHANNESSIAN
The Falcons boys’ soccer team played to a one goal tie against Chaminade in a non- conference match on a windy Saturday at CVHS. It was a game amidst tournament matches, allowing the Falcons to maintain their rhythm. They went on to play St. Francis later the same day at 5 p.m. in the Beverly Hills tournament and on Tuesday took a win from Santa Monica Crossroads 5-2.
Having their first tournament match postponed due to a power outage, the Falcons were eager to step onto the field Saturday to showcase the results of their practice.
“I thought we started out real well, played the kind of game we thought we could play,” said Coach Grant Clark who this year replaces Kiel McClung who took the Falcons all the way to the championship last season.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Clark about being the head coach of the varsity team. “I feel like I have a great group of kids.”
He added that he didn’t feel it would be a difficult transition as both he and McClung had similar expectations and standards for CV.
Taking the field, the Falcons showed no sign of rustiness, imposing their will from the beginning of the match.
A shot by Pavle Atanackovic from outside the penalty box sailed wide to the right side of the goalkeeper. However, that didn’t stop last year’s leading scorer him from attacking even harder. Another opportunity for goal from right field near the penalty box was thwarted by Chaminade’s defense.
But the Falcons’ focus paid off.
Atanackovic played a cross pass to Alex Berger from right field as Berger put it past the goalkeeper for a one-goal lead.
The Falcons’ relentless efforts almost resulted in a second goal. Atanackovic’s shot from the right side of the field hit the upper post of the goal. Jung Jaehoon got the rebound, however his header went over the top of the goal for two consecutive missed opportunities.
While the Falcons continued pounding, Chaminade capitalized on opportunities presented to them, keeping the Falcons’ defense on their toes, especially Erick Trejo.
“[The] defense played really well, closing down the back,” said Clark. “That’s one of our strengths.”
Chaminade’s strikers played a pass inside the penalty box, but defender Trejo intercepted the pass, preventing a scoring opportunity.
Trejo again derailed a lob by Chaminade to a striker inside the penalty box leaving Falcons with the lead going into halftime.
While the Falcons were in control of the first half, Chaminade turned the tide in the second.
“We kind of lost our focus into the second half,” Clark conceded.
Chaminade stole the ball from defender Matthew Bracht, but keeper Nick Ruiz was able to stop a near-goal opportunity.
Falcons’ supporters were on edge again when Ruiz got out at the wrong time to intercept a lob with his fists leaving the net empty. But Matt Schmutzer, one of several defenders, intercepted a shot into the net, preventing certain goal for Chaminade.
Things got heated when Berger was tackled, since the offender didn’t like the call, he kicked the ball into Berger’s feet resulting in a yellow card.
Perhaps not too surprising was the wind playing a crucial role in Chaminade’s goal.
Ruiz wasn’t able to catch a lob because of the wind, resulting in a header by Chaminade to tie the game 1-1 with seven minutes remaining.
With the game tied, Chaminade started to just kick the ball out when they intercepted an attack by the Falcons.
Chaminade assumed the aggressive stance seen in the first half by CV, and with one opportunity to score by CV, a banana shot by Berger hit the upper post of the net missing the goal and the chance for the Falcons to grab the lead.
Chaminade also had one last opportunity to score in the dying seconds of the half but Ruiz dove to save a header, ending the match in a tie.
The Falcons tied again in their afternoon match against St. Francis High School thanks to a goal by Jaehoon on an assist by Berger.
The Falcons host Santa Monica today at 3:15 p.m. and play in a tournament in Irvine this weekend.