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Ibekwe Pays Off in Quarters

March 01, 2000|CHRIS SHAFFER

Forward Ede Ibekwe of El Camino Real High is soft spoken but his play in the City Section quarterfinals on Tuesday spoke loudly.

With El Camino Real playing flat early, Ibekwe came off the bench to jump-start the Conquistadors with a goal and an assist in a 3-1 victory over Fremont at El Camino Real.

"He was impressive," Coach David Hussey said. "When he wants to play he's a big factor for us. We don't have any superstars on this team, so everybody has to play a role.

"He's big, he's fast and he's strong. He was focused. He helped us a lot."

The Conquistadors (20-4-5) clinched their fourth consecutive 20-victory season and return to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year when they travel to Gardena today.

With the game tied, 1-1, in the 37th minute, Ibekwe received a ball at midfield and poked it past a defender. He used his speed to break free of the defense before beating goalkeeper Michael Ruiz and put the Conquistadors ahead, 2-1.

"I was a little out of control and the defender clipped me," said Ibekwe, who scored his third goal of the season. "I thought I was going to lose control, but I quickly regained control and pushed the ball forward and then I just hit it. I was a little nervous."

Less than two minutes later, Ibekwe took on two defenders before slipping the ball through the defense to Yan Falkinstein, who ran onto Ibekwe's pass and blasted a shot past Ruiz for the 3-1 lead.

The Conquistadors trailed early but tied the game, 1-1, after Ian Kogan's throw-in was tipped over the defense by Chris Johnstone to Tony Sangari, who knocked the ball past Ruiz.

"Chris flicked it up and all the defenders missed it, and I just flicked it in," Sangari said. "I always know the ball slips back there. We practice it."

With El Camino Real having trouble communicating early, Fremont scored by capitalizing on a poor defensive clearance.

Forward Ricardo Chavez dribbled toward the goal from the top of the 18-yard box and released a shot that sneaked just inside the right post.

Fremont (9-4-2) rarely challenged El Camino Real. Although each team took 17 shots, only four of Fremont's shots were on goal. El Camino put 10 on goal.

* Roundup of girls' playoff games. Page 14

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