Foad Naderzad, Laguna Beach High School boys' soccer coach, says he doesn't keep any statistics on his team and doesn't want anyone to know who his star players are. He's afraid such knowledge will help the opposition.
But such a veil of secrecy doesn't work too well when you keep on winning. Laguna Beach's latest victim, Newport Harbor--which lost, 2-1, in the second round of the 2-A playoffs Wednesday at Laguna Beach--knew about the Artists' secret weapon.
But the Sailors just couldn't stop him.
Senior fullback Mike Davis, using his powerful throw-ins, was responsible for setting up both Laguna Beach goals.
"Their throw-ins are their strength," said Newport Harbor Coach Roger Leighton. "We anticipated them, but we couldn't get around them."
Laguna Beach scored five minutes into the game when Davis threw the ball in and teammate Jason Crabbe headed it into the goal.
Newport Harbor came back quickly, scoring with just eight minutes played in the first half, when Tom Walker kicked the ball in from six yards out, tying the score, 1-1.
Davis struck again five minutes into the second half. Another one of his throw-ins ended up in the middle of a group Newport Harbor players, one of whom tipped the ball in for a Laguna Beach goal.
Newport Harbor had eight shots in the second half but could get the ball in the net only once, and that was called back by the referee with seven minutes to play.
Newport Harbor's David Woodruff kicked the ball. It landed in the goal, for what would have been the tying score, but the whistle had blown while the ball was in the air and the referee called a hand-ball penalty.
Newport Harbor goalie Ken Wilcutt had six saves. Laguna Beach's goalie, Eric Miranda, finished with 11 saves.
The victory gives Laguna Beach a 19-3-3 record. The Pacific Coast League champions forfeited two league games to Orange for using an ineligible player. The Artists' only loss on the field was to Dana Hills in the Irvine tournament.
Newport Harbor finishes the season 13-6-4. Laguna Beach will play Walnut (18-3-3), which defeated Apple Valley, 1-0, in Friday's quarterfinals.
Bolsa Grande 5, Sunny Hills 3--Bolsa Grande, trailing 3-1, scored four times in 20 minutes to pull out the victory at home. Bolsa Grande's Randy Reynaga scored 10 minutes into the first half to give his team a 1-0 lead. Sunny Hills scored later in the half.
Sunny Hills scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half to take a 3-1 lead. But Bolsa Grande's Felix Carrillo scored off an assist from Mark Miller to make the score 3-2. Fernando Cueva tied the score, 3-3, on a free kick, and Miller scored twice in the game's last 10 minutes, both off assists from Reynaga.
Bolsa Grande is 12-6-4.
Saddleback 3, La Canada 3--La Canada advances on penalty kicks, 5-4. Led by Carlos Zavala, Saddleback held a 2-1 lead by the end of the first half. Zavala scored twice in the first half, once off an assist from Beto Martinez and once dribbling past five defenders to score.
La Canada's Alan Ross scored on a penalty kick when Saddleback was called for a hand ball. Saddleback went ahead, 3-2, on Andres Solis' goal. Ross tied the score at 3-3 on another penalty kick, this one for pushing in the penalty box.
Pacifica 3, Baldwin Park 3--Pacifica advances on penalty kicks, 4-2. The score was tied at 2-2 by the end of the first half. Pacifica's Daniel Barber scored twice in the first half--on a breakaway and a free kick.
Baldwin Park went ahead, 3-2, three minutes into the second half, on a goal by Jorge Martinez. Pacifica's Erik Berg scored off an assist from Trung Do to tie the score, 3-3. Pacifica (11-6-4) plays La Canada Friday in the quarterfinals.
Brea Olinda 2, Keppel 0--Jaysn Ochs scored two unassisted goals to lead Brea at home. Ochs scored his first goal by curving in a corner kick, 23 minutes into the first half. Ochs' second goal was scored 24 minutes into the second half. Stealing the ball at midfield, Ochs dribbled for about 35 yards and scored.
Ochs, a sophomore forward, has scored five goals in the playoffs. Brea-Olinda (11-5-7) plays Laguna Hills in the quarterfinals Friday at Brea.
Laguna Hills 2, La Salle 1--Brian Casagranda scored at the 34-minute mark of the first half to break a 1-1 tie. Brian Fleming set up the goal by deflecting Kevin Macare's corner kick to Casagranda, who scored on a header.
Pat Richards, the Pacific Coast League's player of the year, scored two minutes into the game on a breakaway to give Laguna Hills (16-7-3) a 1-0 lead.