The future is looking bright for the talented, young Long Beach Poly boys’ soccer team, but the future hasn’t arrived yet. The Jackrabbits struck first in a second-round CIF-SS Division 2 playoff game against Riverside Poly, but couldn’t react in the second half when the Tigers turned it on, falling 4-1.
“We didn’t react,” said Poly coach Eric Leon. “When they scored that tying goal we didn’t adjust to them, we were down three by the time we really reacted.”
Poly got on the board first on a nice goal from freshman Luke Brown, in the 25th minute. The Jackrabbits had a few other chances in what was a very even first half, and held the one-goal lead going into halftime. Riverside game out gunning in the second half, making fast, long runs down the left side. The Tigers equalized in the 49th minute on a score by Steven Anderson. Poly’s Eugene Taparro had been on the ground for some time when the goal happened, drawing the ire of Poly coaches and fans. A few minutes later, Poly sophomore Ethan Schnack looked like he was pulled down in the Riverside box, but no whistle was blown.
“Anyone who knows him knows he doesn’t go down like that,” said Leon. “That was a game changer at 1-1. But I credit Riverside, they were more prepared, they played well.”
The Tigers proceeded to blow the game open in the 57th and 70th with goals by Jaden Vandenberg, and then a capper in the 78th by Ronnie Padilla.
Poly will return 18 players next year, including a lot of talented players that have Leon excited.
“Hopefully the young core learned from this, hopefully it makes them better for next season,” said Leon.