Capo Valley scores late, beats Mission Viejo


MISSION VIEJO – With four injured starters out of the lineup on Monday, the Capistrano Valley boys soccer team lacked some of the goal-scoring creativity that put the Cougars in back-to-back CIF-SS championship matches.

With a little help from visiting Mission Viejo, however, Capistrano Valley remained undefeated in the South Coast League, beating the Diablos, 2-1.

Both of the Cougars’ goals came as a result of a Mission Viejo foul. The first one gave Nicholas Godfrey a penalty kick in stoppage time in the first half. He drilled a shot into the left side of the goal while Mission Viejo’s keeper, Colin Smith, lunged to the left. That tied the game 1-1. 

And then in the 79th minute, The Cougars were awarded a free kick from just outside the box, and Anthony Novella watched his shot curl past the Mission Viejo wall, bounce off the far post and deliver a Capo Valley victory.

The Cougars (8-6-3, 2-0-1) will complete the first half of South Coast League play on Friday when they play host to No. 2 San Clemente, which is in first place at 3-0 after beating Aliso Niguel, 3-0, on Monday.

“If we didn’t think that we had a shot (at beating San Clemente and winning the championship), the game wouldn’t be worth playing,” Capistrano Valley coach Jason Sorrell said. “However, San Clemente is well organized. They have talent, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. We will tweak things a bit when we play them.”

But even that might not be enough to slow down the Tritons. San Clemente has scored 66 goals and are led by UCLA-bound Gage Zerboni, who leads the county in goals with 22.

“I have got idea of how I want to play them,” Sorrell said, “and it will be different from what we did today.”

It had better be, or it will be very difficult to beat San Clemente. Capistrano Valley trailed for most of the first half after letting Sam Bueras find some space on the right side and fire a shot inside the far post in the 10th minute to give Mission Viejo a 1-0 lead.

“When we started the game, I thought we played very well,” Mission Viejo coach Roger Castle said.

Twice in the first four minutes, Mission Viejo senior forward Sean Bowker sprinted down the left sideand fired a shot from about 10 yards out. One was batted away by Matt Bermudez, who finished with five saves. The other sailed just wide of the far post.

“That is when you put games away. We had four or five chances at goal. We surprised them with our pace,” Castle said. “But I have got to tell you … some of our decision making … I don’t know.”

In the 27th minute, Smith picked up a ball that had been passed back to him, giving the Cougars an indirect free kick from the penalty spot. The Cougars tried to catch the Diablos out of position and played the ball quick, but their shot just missed to the left.

Kevin Baboiyan, who was an All County First Team selection last season as a junior, missed Monday’s game because of back injured he suffered on Friday during the Cougars’ game against Aliso Niguel. He could have played on Monday, but Sorrell said he wanted to give him a full week’s rest to get ready for San Clemente.

“Any time you take out a quality player, it stops the way that you want to play,” Sorrell said. “But the boys worked hard. The second half was better than the first half.”

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