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Country's Top Gunner Gives Local Club an Edge for National Soccer Title

July 31, 1986

Tad Bobak, coach of Culver-Palisades, a soccer team of boys under 19 that last week won the U. S. Soccer Federation's Far West Regional title in Seattle, should be as happy as a cat snoozing in a fat armchair.

Bobak, whose club will try to bring home a title in the federation's national tournament this weekend in New Britain, Conn., has the top gun in the West in his lineup: Waldir Guerra, who last year scored 47 goals for Bell High School and thereby set a national prep career scoring record with 120 goals.

Guerra, who once scored 11 goals in a high school game, is not the only top player for Culver-Palisades, which is going to the national tourney for the second time in three years.

Back from the 1984 team that lost in the finals to the Scott Gallagher club of St. Louis, are midfielders Chuck Codd of Torrance and Gary Filtzanidis and goalie Carlos Pena of Culver City. Another high-scoring forward with Guerra is Mike Gregorian of Culver City.

With these stars and more, Culver-West, which won six straight games in the Far West tournament, including five shutouts, should mount a strong charge in the nationals against other regional champions from Ocean City, N. J.; Canton, Ohio, and Dallas. The local squad meets Dallas in one of Saturday's openers, while Canton faces Ocean City in the other. Winners meet in the title match on Sunday.

Although he has a high-caliber team, Coach Bobak must have felt like a cat kicked out of his comfy spot after last week's competition in Seattle.

Culver-West won't be able to use forward Bruce Weisenberg of Palos Verdes, another of the team's potent scorers, in Connecticut. Weisenberg scored the only goal as the club defeated Oregon in the Far West quarterfinals, 1-0. But later in the tourney he broke a leg, said John Ridgley of Pacific Palisades, whose son, Scott, is a team member and whose older son, Erik, played on the 1984 team.

Bobak is sure to feel the loss of Weisenberg, but John Ridgley said that although Culver-Palisades has scoring power, the team is better noted for defense and ball control.

You would have a tough time convincing opposing goalies at Seattle that Culver-Palisades isn't a scoring machine. Included in its Far West matches were a 6-0 win over New Mexico, an 8-0 whitewash of Montana and 3-0 wins over Washington in the semifinals and over Colorado in the semifinals.

Goalie Pena, who is coming back from a hamstring pull, shared time in the nets with Steve Jaworski of La Crescenta, and both earned credit for the five shutouts in last week's tournament. The Culver-Palisades scoring outbursts undoubtedly made the tasks of its own goalies a little easier.

But Ridgely said that despite the 1-0 win over Oregon and an opening, 2-1 victory over Nevada, Culver-Palisades didn't seem in danger of losing even in its close games in the tournament.

For example, he said that Bobak's club scored early against Oregon and was never threatened in the game because the local players kept the ball out of Oregon's hands with short passes and other ball-control tactics.

Still, it's nice to have scorers such as Guerra and Gregorian, particularly if Culver-Palisades and Canton win their openers and meet in the finals. To reach the finals, Canton had to defeat the Scott Gallagher club, the perennial national champion that took its 1984 title by knocking off Culver-Palisades.

Other local players who will make the trip to Connecticut are Danny Pena, a brother to Carlos; Costa Skouras, George Hutarte, Razmik Aghanian, Joe Manzella, Peter Zenobi, Marcelo Balboa and Dana Kier.

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