Last Tuesday, before the boys' soccer playoffs began, Brea-Olinda High School Coach Manny Toledo was predicting upsets in the 2-A division. But he hadn't specifically foreseen that his team would be the upsetter.
The Wildcats were just that Friday, beating second-seeded Kennedy, 1-0, at Kennedy.
The only goal was scored 17 minutes into the first half, when center halfback Matt Swindle made a 30-yard pass to sophomore left wing Jason Ochs, who tipped the ball past Kennedy goalie Jack McConnell.
Kennedy could never get its offensive game, which had been potent all season, on track, threatening numerous times but failing to score.
Toledo had been hoping that Kennedy, which stormed through the season with nine shutouts and just one league loss, would start the playoffs a little flat. The Irish (15-4-3), clinched the Garden Grove League championship with three games left to play, in contrast to Brea, which battled to stay alive and finished third in the Orange League.
The Wildcats, who were 2-A co-champions with Central in 1986 and lost to Sunny Hills in last year's title game, started slowly this season. The team had to overcome injuries (Swindle missed five games with a sprained ankle), an attitude problem (Toledo benched several starters for a game), and inexperience (only four starters returned from last year's team).
But the Wildcats (10-5-7) seem to be peaking. In Wednesday's wild-card game, Brea dominated Glenn, winning 5-0.
Friday, Brea outshot Kennedy, 11-8. Wildcat goalie Brian Hester had eight saves and McConnell finished with seven.
"We were definitely the underdog today," Toledo said. "It was a no-lose situation. All the pressure was on them."
Laguna Hills 4, Valencia 3--Pat Richards scored three goals to lead Laguna Hills (15-7-3) at Valencia. Valencia took a 2-0 lead midway through the first half on two goals by Joe Hudson, who had three goals for the game. Laguna Hills' Brian Beaman scored off an assist from John Evans with a minute left in the first half.
Richards scored early in the second half to tie the score. Hudson scored his third goal but that was matched by Richards, who scored off an assist from Kevin Macare. Richards scored the game-winner, off another assist from Macare, with five minutes to play.
Pacifica 2, La Mirada 1--Kevin Ashworth scored 20 minutes into the second half to lift visiting Pacific, a wild-card team, to the upset of third-seeded host La Mirada. Sean Tofoya scored 30 seconds into the game to give La Mirada (13-4-3) a 1-0 lead. Erik Berg tied it for Pacifica (10-6-4) early in the second half.
Bolsa Grande 2, Troy 1--Randy Reynaga scored with five minutes left to lift Bolsa Grande, a wild-card team, to an upset over host Troy, which was the Freeway League champion. Paul McDonnell scored to give Troy (10-2-2) a 1-0 lead. Juan Duarte tied it for Bolsa Grande.
Newport Harbor 2, La Habra 0--Peter Duynstee scored in the first half and Garth Tamblyn scored in the second half for host Newport Harbor (13-5-4). Ken Willcut had three saves for Newport Harbor. La Habra ended the season 12-6-4.
Sunny Hills 3, Orange 2--Goals by Ed Gallegus and Carlos Martinez gave Orange a 2-0 halftime lead, but Sunny Hills stormed back to win on goals by Alberto and Carlos Miramontes and Nick Rose. Jason Sugarman had seven saves for Sunny Hills (17-7-3) and Tim Huhn had five for Orange, which finished 15-4-4.
Saddleback 2, Arroyo 0--Miguel Ocha had 11 saves as host Saddleback recorded its sixth consecutive shutout and seventh of the season. Carlos Zavala scored his 20th goal in the first half and Andres Solis scored in the second half for Saddleback (15-6-2). Arroyo ended the season 11-6-1.
Laguna Beach 2, Norwalk 1--Ryan Phillips and Todd Austin each scored to lead Laguna Beach (18-3-3) at home.