Coach Tad Bobak got what he was after, a national championship for Culver-Palisades Fram, his boys under-19 soccer club.
And forward Waldir Guerra, the national prep scoring champion from Bell High School, played a big part in the team's big win at the U. S. Soccer Federation championships last weekend at New Britain, Conn.
But the Culver-Palisades defense accounted for most of the team's goals, topped by a 70-yard penalty kick by fullback Marcel Balboa in the closing moments of the tournament's final match.
In the tourney semifinals, the Westside-based team opened with a 3-0 win over Dallas, the Southern Regional titlist, and defeated Eastern Regional champion Oceanside, N. Y., in overtime, 4-1, reported John Ridgley, whose son Scott plays for Culver-Palisades.
Big Game for Guerra
Guerra, who set a national career scoring record of 120 goals at Bell, figured prominently in the victory over Dallas. He assisted on his team's first goal, a header by midfielder Gary Filtzanidis, and scored the second on a 35-yard free kick. The team's final goal was completely a defensive product as fullback Dana Kier scored on a pass from fullback Joe Manzella.
In the final, the teams were tied, 1-1, at the end of regulation time, and the only Culver-Palisades score was by fullback Danny Pena, who punched in a corner kick that had been knocked away by the goalie. But in the half-hour overtime period, it was the local team's defenders who finally broke loose to score against the tough Oceanside defense.
Pena scored first in overtime, again knocking in a deflected corner kick, and midfielder Jorge Hutarte booted in an unassisted 35-yarder. Then came fullback Balboa's 70-yarder, putting frosting on the cake.
John Ridgley said that Balboa's long goal came after a referee had called a foul in Culver-Palisades territory and the Oceanside goalie ran down the field to protest the call, leaving his goal unprotected.
Since a penalty kick can be taken immediately after an infraction, Balboa, discovering that he had a wide-open goal far ahead of him, quick-kicked the ball more than half the length of the field into the goal. And it was a line drive, Ridgley said, not a floater. He added that Balboa's father, Louie, the Culver-Palisades assistant coach, thought his son's prodigious kick was a nice way to end the tournament.
Ridgley said that he plans to suggest that the Culver-Palisades Fram club be renamed. Fram is the name of a Norwegian-American athletic club in Palos Verdes that is a financial backer of the team.
He said he thinks the team should be called the Tad Bobak Club, honoring the veteran coach who guided the team to its first national title and led Culver-Palisades to the U. S. Soccer Federation finals in 1984.
Culver-Palisades Fram players who will still be under 19 next year and could therefore continue to play for the team are Balboa, Hutarte, Kier, Ridgley, Danny Pena, Peter Zenobi and Steve Jaworski.
Other players for the champions were Chuck Codd, Carlos Pena (Danny's brother), Mike Gregorian, Bruce Weisenberg, Costa Skouras and Razmik Aghanian.