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Dana Hills' Chances Slip Away


Dana Hills couldn't have asked for much more in the last five minutes of Saturday's Southern Section Division I final against Long Beach Millikan.

Twice, Dolphin scoring leader Forrest Smith broke loose for breakaways on goalkeeper Jose Barragan. But Smith came up empty both times and Millikan hung on for a 1-0 victory before about 1,500 at La Mirada High.

"It was touch and go," Millikan Coach Rod Petkovic said. "I kept waiting for the whistle to blow. That was the longest half in history."

Smith's shot in the 75th minute was lofted too hard over the charging Barragan, who was 15 yards out of goal. It sailed a couple yards over the crossbar.

"All we had to do was chip it over, but there was too much oomph on it," Dana Hills Coach Dennis Korinke said. "But it's hard when you want to put it away. It was just one of those days."

Smith's second chance came just 30 seconds before the final whistle. He ran onto a long ball that was lofted over the top of Millikan's back line. Smith gathered the ball, but by the time he shot with his right foot, Barragan was there to deflect it away.

"I stood on the ball," said Smith, who had 24 goals during the season, including two against Millikan two months ago in a 3-0 Dana Hills victory. "I should have released it earlier."

Although Smith had his chances in the last five minutes, Millikan controlled most of the game. And the Rams did it by attacking from the back. After watching a tape of Dana Hills' semifinal against Arcadia, Petkovic found something he could exploit.

"By attacking from the back to the front," he said, "we kept them away from winning a lot of balls inside the box."

Dana Hills' defense was solid most of the game, but a letdown in the last minute of the first half proved costly. Millikan forward Alejandro Torres crossed the ball through two Dana Hills defenders and onto the feet of Sigifredo Orozsco, who easily beat goalkeeper Lance Friesz from 10 yards out.

"We tried to trap the ball, but it went right under our feet," Korinke said. "We haven't had something like that happen all year."

Orozco's goal was his third in two games. He scored twice in the Rams' 3-2 overtime victory over Los Alamitos in the semifinal.

Dana Hills outscored its opponents, 15-1, in its first four playoff games. But Saturday, it couldn't find the net once.

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