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CHRISTINE COTTER, FOR THE REGISTER
Fountain Valley's Larry Turner, 24, is congratulated by teammates Matt Ellis and Jake Tipple, from left, after scoring a goal in the first half of a soccer game against Marina at Huntington Beach on Friday.
See more photos from this game in the OCVarsity Hot Shots slideshow.

Fountain Valley ties Marina to stay in hunt

OCVARSITY.COM

The team that won only four of the 11 games it played in the first month of the season, now finds itself right in the middle of the championship battle in one of the most competitive boys soccer leagues in the county.

After playing host Marina to a 1-1 tie in double overtime, Fountain Valley is tied for second place in the Sunset League standings with Edison, four points behind Los Alamitos.

"These guys showed a lot of heart today. This was huge for us. It keeps us in the hunt," Fountain Valley coach Jason Smith said. "It is really going to come down to desire in the end, which team is going to persevere and step up. Today, they showed a lot of heart. Oscar (Fernandez) was out there playing with one leg."

Fernandez, who has four goals and three assists in Sunset League play for the Barons (7-6-5, 3-2-1), suffered a deep muscle bruise during the Edison game on Wednesday.

"But he battled through it," Smith said. "That is what it takes (to win a championship)."


SLIDESHOW: OCVarsity Hot Shots: Friday's wrestling, water polo, soccer


He had a chance to put the game away for the Barons early in the second 10-minute overtime period but the shot which he took almost from the end line, curled past the far post.

Marina finds itself in a much different position with four games left in the regular season. The Vikings (9-8-2, 1-4-1), which advanced to the semifinals in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs last season, are trying to stay out of last place.

"We pushed to try and win. The tie gives us a point, and our league is so packed right now that if we can get some wins we will be right back in the mix," Marina coach Jeff Schofield said. "Right now, we are the outliers on the bottom."

The Vikings, though, Smith said, are "much better than a 1-4" team. They have one of the best forwards in the county in Dakoda Muta, and in the 63rd minute he tied the game, 1-1. After he dribbling around two Los Alamitos defenders, he turned and drilled a shot inside the far post. Larry Turner gave the Barons a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute.

That was Muta's 14th goal of the season, which puts him in fourth place on the county's goal-scoring leader board.

Up until then, Kenji Louer had done a good job marking Muta, limiting him to just two shots which both sailed wide of the far post.

"He was the hardest working guy in the offseason, hitting the gym everyday," Schofield said. "He just fights so hard. He does some special things, which he did on the goal."

To have any chance of making the playoffs, Schofield said the Vikings have to eliminate the mental mistakes that have led to scoring opportunities for the opposition. All four of Marina's Sunset League losses have been by one goal.

"It's one play ... one mistake ... one big play from the other team that has been the difference," Schofield said.

In another Sunset League game:

No. 5 Los Alamitos 2, Newport Harbor 1: Zach Way had a goal and an assist for the visiting Griffins (15-3-6, 4-1-1).

In other boys soccer:

In the Freeway League:

No. 4 Sunny Hills 2, Troy 0: Gerardo Arias scored two goals for the host Lancers (15-1-0, 5-0-0).

In the Trinity League:

No. 3 Santa Margarita 3, Servite 3: Sean Goode led the host Eagles (14-3-3, 3-0-2) with two goals while Elijah Barajas, JT Cook and Esen Harris each scored for the Friars (8-6-7, 1-1-3).

No. 6 JSerra 2, Mater Dei 0: Ivan Canales and Jonathan Fabulich both scored in the second half for the visiting Lions (12-2-3, 4-1-1).

In the South Coast League

No. 2 San Clemente 3, Capistrano Valley 1: Gage Zerboni finished with a goal and an assist for the visiting Tritons (21-2-1, 4-0-0).

In the Orange League:

Century 4, No. 9 Anaheim 1: Ronaldo Pineda scored two goals for the host Centurions (9-4-5, 3-1)

Contact the writer: ddottore@ocregister.com


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