If this roller coaster Moore League boys’ soccer season is any indication, the CIF Southern Section postseason this month is going to be one to remember. Unexpected results in a tight league race should have the local boys hardened and prepared for a playoff push.
“We’ve had seven ties in the league this season,” Millikan 37-year coach Rod Petkovic said. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen that.”
Wilson (14-6-4, 9-0-3) made history this year by winning its first league title in 12 years. The Bruins clinched the crown on an 80th minute goal from Carlos Mota to beat Cabrillo, and Mota capped the season with a win thanks to his header goal in the season finale over Long Beach Poly.
“Our team is full of fighters and I love my team,” Mota said. “(Second-year coach) CJ Brewer made us into a great team with cross country training in the preseason. Everything he’s been doing has been working.”
Wilson will host Katella today, Thursday, in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs. Katella (9-6-4, 5-4-1) finished fourth in the Orange League after losing two of its final three games of the season. This is the first year the Knights haven’t won at least 10 games since reaching the Division 3 semifinal in 2014.
Cabrillo (18-2-4, 8-2-2) was ranked No. 1 in Division 2 last week, and showed their top-ranked resolve by bouncing back from the devastating loss at Wilson with a regular season finale win 1-0 over visiting Millikan. Alexis Torres’ 70th minute penalty kick proved to be the difference as the Jaguars finished with their best overall record since joining the Moore League.
“I knew at the beginning of the season that this team had the potential to be one of the best teams we’ve ever had here,” Cabrillo coach Pay Noyes said. “Having said that, I want to score more goals. We create way too many chances to not have two or more goals per game.”
Both teams starters’ played limited minutes with the league standings all but set before the game, but Millikan also played shorthanded because of two red cards for dissent, and will miss those players in the first round. The first red card came in the 20th minute, and the Rams went down to nine men on the field in the 60th minute. Cabrillo happily played keep-away for most of the second half while outshooting Millikan 15-6.
“This is a learning process,” Millikan coach Rod Petkovic said. “If you don’t learn from mistakes you’re not growing as an athlete, and we’re not growing as a team.”
Cabrillo senior Brayan Valenzuela drew the foul inside the Millikan 18-yard penalty box ten minutes after the second red card, and Torres cleanly finishing the PK. Meanwhile, Cabrillo goalkeeper Yancy Monterola only needed three saves to deliver his 15th clean sheet performance this season. The Jaguars defense has only allowed 11 goals in 23 games, and four in league play.
Cabrillo will host El Rancho today, Thursday, in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs. El Rancho (8-10-4, 5-2-1) finished second in the Del Rio League after finishing the season on a five-game unbeaten streak. This is the first year the Dons haven’t had a winning record since 2014-15.
Millikan (16-5-6, 5-2-5) has a tall task today, Thursday, as the third-place Rams travel to Servite. The No. 4 seeded Friars (13-2-7, 7-0-3) won the Trinity League after finishing the season on an 11-game unbeaten streak. Millikan had a 13-game unbeaten streak last month.
Long Beach Poly (9-8-6, 4-5-3) is on the road today in Division 2 against Santa Ana Valley. The Falcons (17-4-1, 8-1-1) won the Orange League after finishing the season on a six-game winning streak.
St. Anthony (13-7-4, 5-3-2) visited Sage Hill (4-7, 3-3) on Tuesday for the wild card round in Division 6.