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Splash Losing Streak Over; Team Alone in First Place


ANAHEIM — Raffaele Ruotolo's streak is alive. So is Dale Ervine's. And so is the San Diego Sockers'.

But the Splash's streak is broken, and that's good news.

The Splash broke a five-game losing streak Saturday night in a physical, heated, 8-7 sudden-death victory over San Diego, and took sole possession of first place in the Continental Indoor Soccer League's Western Division.

It's the third consecutive loss for the Sockers (11-6), who fell into second place, one game behind the Splash (12-5).

It's the first victory by the Splash over the Sockers, who have won 10 of the last 12 indoor soccer championships, and provided a critical psychological boost for the team, which expects to play San Diego in the CISL semifinals.

The game was nothing but streaks. The Splash scored the game's first five goals, the Sockers the next seven and then the Splash avoided the biggest collapse in franchise history when Armando Valdivia scored 2 minutes 46 seconds into overtime; Paul Ratcliffe's shot was blocked by San Diego's Antonio Cortes, the league's leading goalkeeper, and Valdivia found the ball in front of him and nudged it in for a short-handed goal.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Monday August 1, 1994 Orange County Edition Sports Part C Page 11 Column 1 Sports Desk 1 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction
The Splash--The Splash's 8-7 overtime victory Saturday over San Diego broke a five-game losing streak to the Sockers, not a five-game losing streak as was reported in Sunday's edition of The Times Orange County.

It was another remarkable comeback, this time in front of a franchise-record 6,027 at The Pond of Anaheim.

The Splash trailed, 7-5, when Ruotolo, who won three titles with the Sockers, scored at 12:56 on a power-play goal with a sixth attacker. Rod Castro, who won two titles with the Sockers, got the assist.

Castro then scored the tying goal with 36 seconds left, playing a pass off the glass from Shane Hickson.

Both goals came with an extra attacker on the floor.

Hickson was playing because Denis Hamlett couldn't. Hamlett was paying the one-game penalty for accruing 20 penalty minutes.

Saturday night's victory was similar to the 10-9 triumph over Arizona last week, when the Splash came back from a three-goal fourth-quarter deficit, tied the score with 30 seconds left, and won it with 0:00.1 remaining.

Ruotolo had an assist on the second goal of the game; it gave him 25 on the year, matching his career high over five years, and gave him 18 consecutive games with an assist, a CISL, Major Soccer League and North American Soccer League record.

Ervine, who scored the first two goals, now has scored in eight consecutive games. He has 24 on the season.

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