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Notebook : Soccer Coach Claims 'Travesty' Led Rival Kennedy Team to Playoff Victory

January 29, 1987|Ray Ripton

The Venice High School boys soccer team won the Western League championship with a 10-0 record and went into the City playoffs as the top seed.

But after defeating Narbonne in the first round, the Gondoliers were bumped from the quarterfinals by Granada Hills Kennedy. The Golden Cougars won on penalty kicks when the teams couldn't break a 1-1 tie after two overtimes.

For Venice, it was a rough way to end an otherwise sensational season, and Gondolier Coach Gregory Durio said there might have been a different ending if the match with Kennedy had had enough referees.

In a letter to The Times, Durio wrote, in part:

"We were the No. 1 seed, and we shared a sense of camaraderie that was intoxicating. The crowds (grew), the cheerleaders gave energy, and the newspapers chronicled our march. It was the American dream: Work hard and nothing can stop you--nothing but the impersonal and deadly hand of expediency.

"(We) were ready for Kennedy in the quarterfinals. We were not ready for the nightmare when only one referee showed up for the match (instead of two).

"I got on the phone to the 'authorities,' strenuously protesting that this crucial match not proceed under such ridiculous circumstances. They were working on it. I went back to the field, quoting the official soccer rule book, imploring that we wait or reschedule. I was the sole representative of our team when the single referee insisted we go ahead. Expediency.

"Kennedy scored first. Everyone within view screamed at what appeared to be a handball struck from the hip. The referee, from his vantage point 40 yards behind, judged the goal good. We shut our mouths, scored a goal to tie and scored another to go ahead. The crowd went crazy with celebration, (but) the referee disallowed the goal. Unfortunately, he had not seen the Kennedy defender push my forward into their goalie as our goal rolled into the net.

"Kennedy played hard, and they're a deserving team. The referee, in all fairness, was in an impossible situation. In defense of the 'authority' that allowed this travesty to take place, I can say nothing."

Hal Harkness, director of interscholastic athletics in the Los Angeles Unified School District, replied that coach Durio wasn't aware when he lodged his protest both before and after the match that the district's rulebook takes precedence when it conflicts with national federation rules.

Harkness said the rule that applies is No. 126-3, which says: "When at all possible, a rated or qualified official shall be used to officiate. If, however, an official does not appear, all games must be conducted as scheduled."

"Mr. Durio still doesn't quite feel that this rule answers his protest about the official that didn't show up," Harkness said.

Yeshiva High School graduate Jeff Remer, a guard on The Times 1983 and 1984 Times All-Westside prep basketball teams, stopped by the office the other day during a semester break from Yeshiva University of New York.

Remer, who will graduate in June from the university after three years, including summer school terms, wanted a copy of the 1984 Westside section announcing the All-Star team. He had lost the copy he had and wanted a replacement for his scrapbook.

When he was in high school, Remer, like many others, dreamed of playing in the National Basketball Assn. one day. But he said that he has given up that dream.

He is playing NCAA Division III basketball for a third season in the East's Independent Athletic Conference, where the competition includes New York University, CCNY, the U.S. Maritime Academy and Western Connecticut.

In his freshman year, he missed half the season when he damaged a knee in a scrimmage. But since then, he said, he has been averaging about 10 points and five assists, and the team has had records of 11-8, 14-7 and were above .500 this season.

He said he might have pursued the notion of playing professionally if he was 6-6 instead of 5-9 1/2 and had played against stronger competition in high school instead of in the Small Schools Division of the CIF-Southern Section. He also said that as an Orthodox Jew, he could not play in the tougher high school summer leagues, when games are played mostly on weekends, including the Sabbath.

He might not be able to play pro ball, but he is planning a career in the professions. He said he plans to become an attorney and practice entertainment law. He has already been accepted by UCLA and University of Pennsylvania law schools, and "I am waiting to hear from Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and USC."

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