A reliable source of information, the Mater Dei High School soccer record book is not.
Before this season, the record for goals in a season had been listed as 17.
But Paul Oldham, the junior forward who has led the Monarchs to the semifinals of the Southern Section 4-A playoffs, knew better.
The record was 32, set in 1979.
Oldham was certain: His older brother Ray set it.
This season, Oldham has broken his brother's record, scoring 40 goals to lead the Monarchs (23-2-1). He has accomplished this though he has missed three games because of illness, took only a few penalty kicks, and usually came out of the match anytime he scored two in a half or four in a game.
Which is to say, imagine what he could have done to your record, big brother.
Ray was at most of the Mater Dei matches this season, pulling for his brother, but not without a little banter.
"He told me I was going to go into a slump before I made 32," said Oldham.
There was no slump.
"He's just a tremendous shooter," said Curt Bauer, Mater Dei coach. "We like to put him on the wing, so he can go one-on-one. He's not right-footed or left-footed; he's both."
Oldham tied the official record of 17 goals in a season last year as a sophomore, a season that was frustrating because he didn't get as much playing time as he wanted and thought he deserved.
Even Bauer, a first-year coach who was an assistant last season, thought Oldham should have played more.
"I felt he sort of got a raw deal last year," Bauer said.
When he was head coach, Bauer decided, the best players--not just the oldest--would play.
Another junior who didn't see as much playing time last season as some thought he should have is halfback Sam George, who has assisted on 35 goals this season and has scored 14.
Mater Dei, which plays at South Torrance (23-7-0) in a semifinal match today at 3, has advanced to its first semifinal ever with a team largely led by juniors--including fullback Chris Mastropaolo, forward John Coggins and goalkeeper Mike Reis. Mike Brady, who anchors the defense at sweeper, is one of the few seniors.
At least part of the coaching challenge for Bauer this season has been keeping the score down. In a match against Pius X, Mater Dei scored seven goals in the first 15 minutes before Bauer made substitutions to keep the final to 9-0.
Unlike many high scorers, Oldham does not score a lot on set plays designed for him or on penalty kicks. Nor does he often play an entire game.
"I'll keep him in the whole first half, but in the second if we're by a good bit, I take him out," Bauer said.
Oldham didn't get much rest in the Monarchs' quarterfinal game Friday against second-seeded Royal. His goal with 12 seconds remaining gave Mater Dei the upset victory and the semifinal berth.
Three Orange County teams have advanced to the 2-A boys' semifinals. Defending champion and top-seeded Brea-Olinda (16-4-2) plays host to Coachella Valley (22-4-0) at Brea-Olinda Junior High School, and second-seeded Sunny Hills (17-2) plays at Orange (20-7-1). . . . In a 3-A boys' semifinal, top-seeded Esperanza (22-2-1) plays host to Bosco Tech (20-4-1). The Aztecs, who did not allow a goal en route to the championship last season, have outscored opponents, 5-0, in two playoff games. . . . Undefeated Mission Viejo (26-0-1), the No. 1 team in the 4-A girls' division, plays at Edison (19-3-4) in a rematch of the 1986 final, which ended in a tie with the teams declared co-champions. . . . In a 3-A girls' semifinal, Los Alamitos (21-1-4) plays at Alemany (12-4-2).