Art 6770
Cabrillo Compton Jordan Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan Wilson

Moore League Boys’ Soccer Race Heating Up

Quality defense and clutch goalkeeping changed the landscape of Moore League boys’ soccer last week. Now the league standings are closer than ever with the top four teams only separated by three points.

The dramatic three-game week continued last Wednesday when Long Beach Poly visited Cabrillo and knocked off the Jaguars 3-0. Junior Kenny Barnabee scored two goals for the Jackrabbits, but it was the big moments from Poly goalkeepers Griffin Welch and Matthew McCoy that won the day.

In the fourth minute, Welch came charging off of his line to grab a loose ball, but came out of the 18-yard box in the process. Welch was given a yellow card for the handball, and had to leave the game. That brought McCoy in to stop the set piece. He then started the buildup for the Barnabee’s first goal.

Just before halftime, McCoy also came off of his line for a close play on a loose ball. He tripped a Cabrillo forward in the box, was given a yellow card and sent off. That brought Welch back on to face a penalty kick, and he went down to his left to make the stop.

“I didn’t even know he got a yellow so I was a little cold coming off the bench, but I got the stop,” Welch said. “There’s no jealousy about playing time (between me and McCoy) because I love this kid.”

Poly returned home on Friday afternoon to host defending league champions Wilson, and the Bruins dominated defensively after taking a 2-0 lead on a penalty kick and an own goal. Wilson captain Andres Mota led the back line charge that was able to limit Poly star Miguel Arroyo.

Wilson coach C.J. Brewer brought in backup goalkeeper Octavio Reyna for the second half to face the inevitable set pieces coming from Poly.

“Our goalkeepers have opposite skill sets so they’re equally talented,” Brewer said. “One is more active and (Reyna) has size and he isn’t going to get pushed around. He can also punt the ball to Wilson from here.”

Reyna ended up making seven saves in the second half to secure the clean sheet and help his team grab important points on the road.

The busy week ended at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday night where Millikan and Cabrillo renewed their “Classico” rivalry with a scoreless draw. Both teams had quality chances to score, but Millikan goalkeeper Matt Sutfin and Cabrillo goalkeeper Yancy Monterolla made the necessary stops. The most impressive save came with about 10 minutes left when Monterolla flew to the upper-V to stop a long shot with his outstretched hand.

“Of course having him gives us a little bit of confidence,” Cabrillo coach Pat Noyes said of Monterolla, who was the goalkeeper last year when the Jaguars won the CIF State Division II championship.

“We knew we were going to defend more today,” Noyes said. “And we can implement stuff during the game and change formation because we have guys like Yancy on the field.”

Cabrillo bounced back with an impressive 2-1 comeback victory at home over Wilson on Monday, and that puts the Jaguars in first place with 10 points after five games. Millikan is second with eight points after four games, while Wilson and Polly both have seven points after four games.

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.