The Marina High School boys' soccer team finally ran into something it couldn't overcome Tuesday--the Riverside Poly defense.
Marina (9-19) won the Sunset League title and the No. 3 seed in the 4-A playoffs this season despite an ineligible-player ruling that forced the Vikings to forfeit 15 matches midway through the season. The Vikings had a close call in the first round last week when Santa Ana held them to a scoreless tie, but Marina advanced on penalty kicks.
It all ended Tuesday, as Riverside Poly scored a 2-1 victory at Marina.
Riverside Poly (22-2-2) took a 2-0 lead 10 minutes into the second half. Marina cut the deficit to one when Brian Nielson scored on a penalty kick midway through the half but was unable to tie it.
The Riverside Poly defense has 17 shutouts this season, allowing only 10 goals--six of those on penalty kicks.
"They just rejected everything," Marina Coach Dave McLeish said.
The Bears' only losses came against Royal, the No. 2 tournament seed, and Damien, another playoff team.
Marina had several near-goals, most notably in the first half when Ed Gurzi's shot from about eight yards out missed wide, and late in the game when a shot by Darin Fishman narrowly missed.
"I think Poly is just a tremendously hard-working team," McLeish said. "They were very aggressive through the whole game."
Marina looked the sharper team on offense at times, but the Riverside Poly defense repeatedly blocked kicks and stifled plays with ball-clearing headers.
The Bears went ahead, 1-0, with a minute remaining in the first half when Randy Mann lofted a shot from 30 yards out near the right sideline. Marina goalkeeper Steve Ross apparently misjudged the ball, leaping early and only slightly tipping it as he came down.
"I think the wind got it and he went up early," McLeish said.
Riverside Poly scored again early in the second half when Eric Dale made a penalty kick, which was awarded after the Bears' leading scorer, Patt Garthwaite, was fouled in the box on a breakaway.
Nielson then scored on a penalty kick awarded Marina after a Riverside Poly defender touched a ball that looked like a certain goal.
In other 4-A matches:
Mater Dei 5, Canyon 0--Paul Oldham scored two goals to lead the Monarchs (22-2-1) at Canyon. Mater Dei led, 4-0, at the end of the first half. Oldham scored Mater Dei's first goal 20 minutes into the match. The Monarchs then scored three more goals in 10 minutes. Also scoring were John Coggins, Mike Jara and Sam George. Goalie Mike Reis had six saves in his 10th shutout of the season.
Long Beach Wilson 1, Villa Park 1 (Wilson wins on shootout, 4-3)--Villa Park scored first at home on Jeremy Ames' goal, 25 minutes into the first half. Wilson scored three minutes later on a free kick.
In 3-A matches:
Esperanza 1, Mission Viejo 0--Brent Bish scored off an assist from Louis Cabral one minute into the game at Esperanza. Aztec goalie Joe Schuck had four saves for his 18th shutout of the season. Esperanza is 22-2-1.
In 2-A matches:
Brea-Olinda 3, Cajon 2--Jared Burns scored with two minutes left in the match to break a 2-2 tie and give Brea a victory at Cajon. Burns' goal came after Mike Oziminski's indirect free kick had bounced off Cajon defenders. Burns took the deflection and scored into the low-left side of the goal from about five feet out.
Brea (17-4-3) had led the game, 2-0, by the end of the first half on goals by Tony Catalano and Oziminski. Cajon scored two goals in the first three minutes of the second half to tie. Brea will play at Woodbridge in the quarterfinals.
Orange 3, Bolsa Grande 0--Joe Morales, Joe Sanchez and David Shill each scored for the Panthers (20-7-1). Morales' goal came 21 minutes into the first half off an assist from James Vlcek. Shill and Sanchez each scored on breakaways in the second half. Orange recorded a season-high 23 shots on goal. It was the Panthers' 14th shutout of the season.
Sunny Hills 4, Artesia 2--The Lancers were led by left wing Juan Rasilla and forward Steve Fichtelberg, who scored two goals each at Sunny Hills. Rasilla scored early in the first half off a header to give Sunny Hills a 1-0 halftime lead. Rasilla scored again late in the second half. Fichtelberg scored off a penalty shot and on a breakaway, both in the last 10 minutes of the match. Goalkeeper Jason Sugarman had eight saves for the Lancers (16-20). Artesia scored both goals mid-way through the second half.
Woodbridge 2, Troy 1--Pat Ghesquere scored two second-half goals to lead the Warriors at Troy. Troy led, 1-0, at halftime on the strength of Paul McDonell's goal. Ghesquere scored midway through the second half to tie, and 10 minutes after that on a header to put Woodbridge (13-8-4) ahead. Warrior goalie Mike Goodman had 18 saves. Troy's Jeff Holcomb and Shawn Mikkelsen combined for 21 saves.
La Salle 1, Estancia 0 (OT)--Frisbee Miller scored in the first half of overtime to give La Salle (17-1-2) a victory at Estancia. Miller's goal came off an assist from Ricky Esquivel. Estancia had only four shots on goal.
In 1-A matches:
Orange Lutheran 4, Maranatha 2--Mark Soma scored two goals to lead Orange Lutheran (18-4-2) at home. Orange Lutheran's first goal was scored by Scott Runyan 15 minutes into the match. Dale Montell scored the second goal off an assist from Richard Anderson. Soma's first goal came on a shot from about 20 feet out, and the second on a length-of-the-field drive.