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Martini's two goals help Tesoro rally to beat Dana Hills

STAFF WRITER

DANA POINT – Wins in the Sea View League, Tesoro coach Don Skaff said, are going to be hard to come by this season. Never has the competition been this close.

With only five teams in the league and eight games on the schedule, each match has increased significance. Each loss can be devastating.

Although Sea View League play started only last week, No. 9 Tesoro might have already eliminated Dana Hills from the championship race, rallying to beat the host Dolphins, 2-1, on Wednesday  

“I have seen everyone but Aliso (Niguel), and everyone is pretty solid,” Skaff said. “This was a huge win to go down and come back … this was huge.”

The Dolphins fell to 0-2 in league and lost their third match in a row. It was the second time in two weeks the Titans (8-2-3, 1-1) have edged the Dolphins. Tesoro beat Dana Hills, 2-1, in the Mustang Cup championship match on Dec. 30.

The losing streak, Dana Hills coach Leo Compean said, has been demoralizing for the Dolphins, “killing their spirit.”

“Everyone is watching the standings and the numbers,” Compean said. “This hurts. It is hard to swallow right now. Starting 0-2 was not part of the plan with the hopes and aspirations that we started the season with.”

Compean could tell the Dolphins (7-4-1, 0-2) might be in trouble against Tesoro. They couldn’t find any rhythm in what Compean called an ugly training session.

“It carried over into today, and the game was ugly too,” he said. “Nothing was pretty today. Our game was very sloppy. We were really careless. It’s not what we do. I don’t know what is going on now.”

Despite their missteps, Dana Hills took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute off Spencer Madden’s goal. Not long after that, Skaff changed his formation, bringing Jordan Martini into the game, giving the Titans two strikers and an attacking midfielder.

That changed the game for Tesoro. Two minutes into the second half, Martini knocked in the equalizer for the Titans. He added the game winner in the 78th minute, redirecting a pass from Andy Nahangi.

In between, Martini had several other scoring chances, too, including one in the 56th when he was staring at an empty net after Humberto Loya lost his footing as he tried to get in position to make a save for Dana Hills. But Martini’s shot grazed the near post as it went out of play.

“He can play. He’s just a strong kid and he is quick,” Skaff said of Martini. “He can strike the ball well. He is a threat. He puts the defense on their heels and they can’t handle him sometimes. He is a game changer.”

In other boys soccer:

No. 5 Edison 2, Marina 1: Dom Bair and Garen Balikcioglu each scored for the host Chargers (10-3-2, 3-0) in the Sunset League match.

No. 4 Servite 1, Orange Lutheran 0: Corbin Mercado scored off a pass from James Moore to lead the host Friars in the Trinity League match

San Clemente 4, San Juan Hills 1: Jonathan Payan finished with a goal and an assist to help lead the host Tritons to a South Coast League victory.


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