Beating one good team is hard enough. Beating a whole league of good teams is almost impossible.
Of four teams from the 4-A Marmonte League playing in the Simi Valley Soccer Tournament, three were winners of both first-round games and will play today in the second round. Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Royal won both first-round games in the 32-team tournament. Westlake lost its opener, but beat Monrovia in the second game, 3-1.
The tournament should end with a match-up between Marmonte League schools for the championship. Thousand Oaks, which finished last season in second place at 9-2-1, seems to be a good candidate to meet Simi Valley in Saturday's final. Simi Valley finished last season undefeated in 12 matches.
Thousand Oaks Coach Jerry Sawitz would welcome a meeting with Simi Valley in the final. Not only did his team finish second in the league to Simi Valley last year, the Pioneers beat the Lancers, 2-0, in last Saturday's semifinals of the Damien Tournament.
"Last Saturday's loss is pretty fresh in our minds," Sawitz said. "That was a bitter defeat for us. We'd like another opportunity.
"We're two of the stronger teams in the tournament--us and Agoura. Agoura could play with any high school team in Southern California."
Agoura, a 1-A Frontier League school, was the champion of last year's tournament and is 2-0 in the tournament this year.
Add Simi tournament: Coaching soccer in the U.S. can be rewarding, but at times Simi Valley coach Andy Silva wishes he were someplace else--like England.
When teams in this country tie, the game is decided by penalty kicks. The team which makes the most of five penalty kicks earns a point and wins the game.
"Those things I hate," Silva said after his Pioneers tied Beverly Hills 1-1 in regulation. "It's just a test of the goalkeeper and the guy kicking the ball. I'd rather just have another game."
Simi Valley scored on three of five kicks to defeat Beverly Hills, 2-1.
More soccer: L. A. Baptist begins Alpha League (1-A) soccer play today against Montclair Prep. The beginning of league play isn't as noteworthy as the streak the Knights will be trying to keep alive.
L. A. Baptist hasn't lost a league game in three years.
With a record of 33-0-3 under third-year coach Mike Osborne, the Knights look to be heading for another good season. They won the Ontario Christian tournament on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Lutheran High of Orange in the finals. John Lowe, David Fursman and Chris Bollier each scored a goal in the game. It was the third shutout in the Knights' four tournament games.
"We're looking strong," Osborne said. "We were struggling before the tournament, but we're getting our injured people healthy and getting the experience we need."
Last add soccer: It took two days, but El Camino Real's soccer team finally made it to the City Section finals, beating North Hollywood in a tiebreaker, 5-4, on Dec. 18.
The teams played to a 2-2 tie the previous day, but the game was called because of darkness after the fourth overtime. They resumed overtime play the next day, but two more of the five-minute sessions produced no goals.
So the teams went to penalty kicks to determine a winner. El Camino Real hit three of five, North Hollywood hit on two of five.
El Camino Real coach Dick Watts is expecting his team's first-round playoff game to be tougher. The Conquistadores will play San Pedro, which finished first in the Marine League, on Jan. 9.
"They're pretty good," Watts said of San Pedro. "If we win that game, then the sky's the limit."
For as long as it's daylight, anyway.