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MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Laguna Hills forward Justin Lobaton slips past Trabuco Hills' Payton Stade as he dribbles down the field during a match at Trabuco Hills high school on Wednesday.

Laguna Hills fights back to tie Trabuco Hills

STAFF WRITER

MISSION VIEJO – The Sea View League is arguably Orange County’s most competitive boys soccer league this season. Five teams are in the league. Three had a place in this week's CIF-SS Division 2 poll.

Thanks to a couple of highlight reel-worthy plays, the team ranked the lowest extended its unbeaten streak and tightened its grip on first place Wednesday night.

Joey Barry placed a free kick perfectly in the upper left corner of the goal in the 33rd minute and Jacob Huber stopped a Trabuco Hills breakaway with a clutch one-footed save to help Laguna Hills battle back and tie the host Mustangs, 1-1.

The Hawks (7-2-3, 0-2-1), who have lost just one of their last four matches, share 10th place in the D2 poll with Anaheim. Tesoro and Dana Hills, the Hawks’ opponent on Friday, are both above Laguna Hills, in fourth and eighth respectively.

“Yeah, it is a tough league, but not tough for us,” Laguna Hills coach Alex Filipovic said. “Tonight we dominated. We just didn’t win the game.”

What Filipovic called “a bad reaction” early in the match was what kept the Hawks from posting a victory. In the second minute, Devin Teager turned in space in the penalty area and fired a shot inside the far post to put the Mustangs up, 1-0.

Teager appeared to be on route to scoring a second goal in the 61st minute. He sprinted toward the box alone, but just as he was about to take aim at the goal, Huber met Teager at the 18-yard line, stuck out a leg and knocked the ball away.

“It is very tricky how you have to have that balance in the middle of the defense and on top to win the game,” Filipovic said. “We were not worried about coming back, though. I thought it would be 4-1 or 5-1. I thought the goal was a complete fluke in the beginning of the game. We hadn’t even gotten going yet.”

After Teager put the Mustangs in front, Trabuco Hills was faced with stopping the Hawks’ attack, which is built around skill, speed and precise passing and uses the full width of the field.

Twice in the late stages of the second half, Brett Jones sent crosses into the box. One got intercepted by the Mustangs (0-0-3 in league). His other pass, in the 75th minute, ended up at the feet of Kevin Catalan, whose shot grazed the near post as it sailed out of play for a goal kick.

“I think it was evenly matched,” Trabuco Hills coach Marc Stern said. “I think they are a little bit more skilled. But we brought more heart.”

In other games:

No. 8 Santa Ana 4, Westminster 0: Oscar Navarro scored two goals to lead the visiting Saints in the Golden West League.

Orange 3, Loara 1: Benjamin Asabi, Edward Boretto and Brian Garcia each scored for the visiting Panthers in the Golden West League game.

Santiago 5, Rancho Alamitos 2: Julio Garcia finished with three goals for the host Cavaliers in a Garden Grove League match.

Godinez 3, Costa Mesa 0: Bryan Ibarra scored two goals and Rigoberto Lizardi added another for the host Grizzlies in their Orange Coast League triumph.

Sunny Hills 4, Buena Park 2: Miguel Tapia finished with two goals to help lead the visiting Lancers in the Freeway League match.


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