Lakewood Soccer

CIF Boys’ Soccer: Lakewood Falls In CIF SoCal Regional Division IV Final At Oceanside

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

For the second time in a week the Lakewood boys’ soccer team reached a championship game and fell agonizingly short of winning a title.

Lakewood made the trip to Oceanside on Saturday for the CIF SoCal Regional Division IV Final and a trio of second-half goals from the Pirates ended the Lancers season 3-0.

“I’m just proud of them,” said Lakewood sixth-year coach Alex Diaz of his team. “No one gave us a chance and for us to make a CIF final and a state final is an accomplishment. (These players) put us on the map. I just want them to know that this is just a taste. I hope the younger guys can learn from this and keep it going. I’m excited for the future.”

Within the last month, the Lancers (17-5-6) won their first CIF Southern Section playoff game since 2016, reached their first quarterfinals since 1985, and qualified for their first CIF State tournament in program history.

“I just want to thank this team for giving me the opportunity to make it this far,” said Lakewood senior Alan Gonzalez. “None of us could’ve made it without our coaching staff and all the support. We just have to keep supporting each other when we’re down.”

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Lakewood started the game brightly going forward with Michael Gutierrez and Christian Valcic marauding the left flank. The Lancers earned a pair of corner kicks in the opening four minutes, and then Valcic fired the first shot on goal in the seventh minute but it was saved. That would be the only shot on goal for Lakewood in the game.

Oceanside grabbed hold of the proceedings from that point on and ended up outshooting Lakewood 11-4.

“We got away from what we do,” said Diaz. “We started going long too much and that’s what they wanted. They were going to sit back and wait.”

Diaz tried to shuffle his formation to isolate Gutierrez just after the 20 minute mark but it didn’t create any more chances against an Oceanside defense that hasn’t allowed a goal since January.

“They were man marking Michael so we wanted to isolate him so we could get him out and in 1-v-1 situations, but we couldn’t adjust,” added Diaz. “They were really organized and super disciplined. They were not going to keep the ball, they were going to be direct. They waited for our mistakes and countered them.”

The Pirates kept getting stronger as the game got longer in front of a big home crowd, and then converted a pair of corner kicks in the 51st and 55th minutes to take a lead. Lincoln Newcomer provided the set piece service for Kellen Love and Christian Sanchez to finish.

Lakewood had legitimate cases for a penalty kick and a hand ball in the box around the hour mark, but both were waved off by the referee, who then gave the Lakewood bench a pair of yellow cards for dissent. The foul total ended up being 15-9 in favor of the Pirates.

Oceanside earned a 77th minute penalty kick that Braulio Ibarra converted to seal the deal. This is the first SoCal Regional title in Pirates program history.

“Hopefully no one cries on the bus,” said Gonzalez. “Hopefully we keep our heads up and still blast music like how we came here. This is just like another family for me and I’m thankful.”

VIDEO: Lakewood vs. Oceanside, CIF State Boys’ Soccer
PHOTOS: Lakewood vs. Oceanside, CIF State 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.