Though the top-rated local team has vanished from the Southern Section 4-A boys' soccer playoffs, two Orange County teams have survived to advance to today's quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Mater Dei was upset in the second round by Damien, 3-2, leaving two Sunset League teams--Marina and Fountain Valley--to represent Orange County.
Marina (15-8-2) plays second-seeded Palos Verdes (24-2-2) today at Marina at 3 p.m.
Palos Verdes, champion of the strong Bay League, already has beaten Marina twice this season, both times by 2-0 scores. The last meeting was in the championship of the Marina tournament in late December.
"We're playing a lot better than we were back then," Marina Coach Dave McLeish said. "But we'll have our hands full."
Marina won the Sunset League championship after starting the season 2-6. The keys to the Vikings' playoff success have been the dominating defensive play of senior Mike Lapper and the offense generated by forward Darrin Fishman.
Fountain Valley (15-5-4), second in the Sunset League, travels to Simi Valley (19-6-2), which finished third in the Marmonte League.
The Barons also have a strong defense, with eight shutouts, and in their 3-2 victory over Upland in the second round, Derek Mahoney provided the offense with two goals.
Mission Viejo (17-4-4), the only county team remaining, plays host to the Pioneer League champion, El Segundo (17-2).
In their second-round match, the Diablos scored four goals in the first half at home to beat Katella, 6-3.
Five of the original 15 Orange County teams remain.
Brea-Olinda (11-5-7) and Laguna Hills (16-7-3), two third-place teams that started the playoffs in the wild-card bracket, play at Brea-Olinda.
Brea-Olinda sophomore Jasyn Ochs has five goals in the playoffs.
Laguna Hills has been powered by senior center halfback Pat Richards, the Pacific Coast League player of the year, who has scored five of the team's seven playoff goals.
Laguna Beach, the Pacific Coast League champion, travels to Walnut (18-3-3).
Bolsa Grande (13-6-1), the second-place team in the Garden Grove League who entered the playoffs as a wild-card team, plays at top-seeded Central (21-1) in El Centro.
Central shared the 2-A championship with Brea-Olinda in 1986. Five starters, now seniors, remain from that championship team.
Bolsa Grande lost key sophomore wing Juan Duarte to a broken ankle in the first round. But Bolsa Grande scored four goals in the final 20 minutes to beat Troy, 5-3, in the second round. Mark Miller had two goals, assisted by Randy Reynaga, the Garden Grove League player of the year.
Another Garden Grove League team, Pacifica (11-6-4), plays host to La Canada (12-2-6). Pacifica also advanced from the wild-card round.