The562’s soccer coverage for the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Beach Futbol Club.
The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.
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.
Long Beach Poly senior goalkeeper Amir Diaz-Espinoza knew what was on the line Wednesday night when his team hosted Lakewood with the Moore League’s final automatic playoff bid on the line.
For Poly, a win or a tie would secure a third-place finish and a playoff spot.
“We knew what we needed to do,” Diaz-Espinoza said. “I found out during lunch today and as a senior and goalkeeper I took responsibility in doing what I needed to do.”
Diaz-Espinoza was an anchor for the Jackrabbits as Poly and Lakewood finished in a 0-0 tie to wrap up regular season action.
The Jackrabbits (7-5-7, 5-3-4 Moore League) controlled the tempo and kept the Lancers defense on their heels. Unlike their first match up that ended in a 4-1 win for Poly, Lakewood bent but didn’t break as they were able to withstand an early onslaught from Poly’s attack featuring speedsters Roberto Bermudez and Kevyn Herrejon.
“I just told the boys to come out and work,” Lakewood coach Alex Diaz said. “It’s been a long year. I don’t think anybody thought we would be competing, but it’s a privilege to be able to compete with these guys. Everyone game was close except for the first one against (Poly). If we lost we lost by one or tied.”
Lakewood saw a couple opportunities to take the lead, but those chances ended up not on target or were saved.
In the second half, Poly had several chances but those shots were off the mark including a final free kick in extra time that was just a little bit high.
Poly will now await for where they will be for the start playoffs when the bracket release on Saturday.
Lakewood will be submitting an at-large bid after finishing the second above .500.