Servite gives up late goal, ties St. John Bosco


NORWALK – St. John Bosco coach Dave Sabet studied the game film, figured out where the Braves weak spots were, changed the personnel and the tinkered the formation.

This time, the Braves would be ready for Servite.

Because if the No. 1 Friars are involved in a match, “nothing comes for free,” Sabet said.

When the Trinity League rivals met last month, the Friars pretty much took the Braves out of the game in the first 15 minutes, but Wednesday’s grind-it-out game at Cerritos College went down to the final minutes with both teams scoring second-half goals in the 1-1 draw.

“The last time we played Servite, we were on a high, on a winning streak and kind of cocky,” Sabet said. “They woke us up. Today, it was pure hard work.”

In their previous game against the Braves (15-3-5, 5-1-2), Servite (13-2-5, 6-0-2) scored three goals in the first half on the way to a 4-1 victory. This time, though, the Braves dominated the opening 40 minutes. Servite’s first shot on goal didn’t come until the 43rd minute.

“I am pleased that we played better in the second half than we did in the first half,” Servite coach Jon Spencer said. “The second half we definitely had the run of the game.”

And in the 53rd minute, the Friars took a 1-0 lead when James Moore flicked  in a long throw from Zane Rojas, who signed a letter of intent with West Point earlier in the day.

Two minutes later, Servite came inches away from extending its lead when Noah Ferrel sent a cross to Kristopher Morgan, who chipped his shot just wide of the near post.

“I am proud of the guys. They really fought,” Spencer said. “The first half wasn’t our best foot forward, but the second half, we had the will to win … but they (St. John Bosco) got their goal, so hats off to them, too.”

With just one minute remaining, Lorenzo Macias redirected a Marcos Garcia free kick taken from just outside the box to tie the score.

The goal was the first that the Friars allowed in their past three games after shutting out their two previous opponents, Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran.

Wednesday’s result keeps the Friars in first place, two points ahead of second-place St. John Bosco with two games remaining. Servite closes out the regular season next week with games against Santa Margarita and JSerra.

“Now, we have something that we really need to play for next week, which is good,” Spencer said. “But we have two tough ones left.”

But this game was quite a challenge, too, for the Friars, and not just because the Braves elected to use two attacking midfielders in this meeting.

The Field at Cerritos College 15 yards wider than the Friars’ home field, so Spencer said he tailored his recent training sessions to get ready for this game.

“It is a tough place to come into,” Spencer said. “It is hard to adapt to it all being a big field. We did what we needed to do to be prepared, and it is a good thing that we were prepared. We have a whole group of guys that are coming together. We are happy with where we are at.” 

In other boys soccer:

Santa Margarita 3, Mater Dei 0: Jonathan Stoop scored two goals to lead the host Eagles in the Trinity League match.

Valencia 3, Tustin 0: Noah Engstrom, Alexis Martin Del Campo and Nery Tello each finished with a goal for the host Tigers in the Empire League triumph.

Godinez 2, Saddleback 0: Bryan Ibarra scored his 18th goal of the season for the host Grizzlies in the Orange Coast League match.

Edison 2, Marina 0: Dom Bair and Jeff Wood scored goals and Jack Morrel added an assist for the visiting Chargers in the Sunset League match.

Sunny Hills 2, Sonora 0: Christian De Guzman and Kevin Perez scored second-half goals to lead the visiting Lancers to a Freeway League victory

Orange 3, Ocean View 2: Edward Borretto finished with two goals to lead the visiting Panthers in the Golden West League game.

Western 5, Cypress 0:Rene Santillan had three goals for the host Pioneers in the Empire League victory.

Santa Ana 3, Segerstrom 2: Christian Velasquez, Oscar Navarro and Mario Paz each scored a goal to help the Saints clinch their third consecutive Golden West League championship.

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