Long Beach Poly Millikan Soccer

Boys’ Soccer: Long Beach Poly, Millikan Play Scoreless Draw

The562’s soccer coverage for the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Beach Futbol Club.

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

Key late saves from goalkeepers Amir Diaz Espinoza and Riley Cabarles helped their respective teams grab a point on Wednesday night as Long Beach Poly and Millikan played a 0-0 draw in Moore League boys’ soccer action.

The visiting Rams outshot the Jackrabbits 6-1 in the first half, but Poly responded well and outshot Millikan 7-2 in the second half. Shorthanded Poly (2-3-4, 1-1-1) moves into a tie for third place with the result.

“With all things considered on our end we’ll definitely take the draw,” Poly coach Eric Leon said. “We know a loss would’ve set us back with that early loss to Cabrillo. We’re trying to get players back little by little, but two of our players who came back are back out again. We played better, and Millikan is a good team but we kept them on their toes at the same time.”

Millikan (7-2-2, 2-0-1) falls into second place with a game in hand after beating Cabrillo and Wilson in the last six days.

“We feel like we’re good enough to win every game in league so I think you approach it the same way,” Millikan coach Jeff Schofield said. “I don’t know how I feel about it yet. I felt like we struggled to find our rhythm passing. We had moments and had chances but we struggled to get going.”

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Poly’s Kevyn Herrejon nearly scored on a counter attack in the opening minutes, but his shot across the face of goal went wide left. He finished with a game-high four shots in the game.

Millikan responded with the next six consecutive shots that mostly came from a string of corner kicks around the half hour mark. Jacob Chavez and Sergio Flores both had a team-high two shots in the game.

After halftime, Poly was able to stretch out the Millikan backline while earning a string of shots from the top of the 18-yard box that all sailed high. The Jackrabbits nearly scored the game winner when Herrejon’s shot took a slight deflection in the 70th minute, but Cabarles made one of his three saves for the Rams clean sheet.

In the 75th minute, Millikan earned a corner kick that created two consecutive shots that Diaz Espinoza saved. He made four saves for the clean sheet.

“We knew they had a reputation and we just defended our hearts out by going hard on every play,” Diaz Espinoza said. “Everyone kept with their players and we were incredibly organized tonight. We talked about not pulling out of any challenges because the one challenge we pull out of would be the one goal we concede. We just made sure to not stop fighting until the end.”

Millikan will be in the Marina Tournament over the holiday break while Poly will only play Los Alamitos and Paramount in an effort to get healthy for the second half of league that starts Jan. 9.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. Millikan, Boys’ Soccer
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.