Los Angeles Soccer: Jaime Salazar

PREPS: Millikan rolls a seven

March, 3, 2012
3/03/12
10:50
PM PT
DOWNEY -- No team had ever scored seven goals in a CIF-Southern Section soccer championship game, boys or girls. Millikan High School didn't expect to be the first.

But the Rams poured it on, netting five in the first half en route to a stunning 7-2 romp over unbeaten Ventura in the Division 1 boys final Saturday night at Warren High School.

Connor Johnson and Jordy Silva scored two apiece as the Rams (26-2-4) used superior speed, skill and finishing to take command midway through the first half, then pull away in a performance nobody thought they'd see, not even Millikan coach Rod Petkovic.

“Unexpected. Definitely unexpected,” said Petkovic, who notched his 600th win in 30 years at the Long Beach school. “We talked in September, as part of motivation to get the kids to believe, and they believed. As young as we were, we didn't think we'd be quite ready yet, but they were ready. Boy, were they ready.

“Just to be here is great. Just to be here is a fun thing. But to win like this? Woo!”

It's the third Southern Section title the second-seeded Rams have won under Petkovic, to go along with a 3-A co-championship in 1992 and a Division I crown in 2001. They lost in the Division I final two years ago to El Toro, from Lake Forest.

Ventura (23-1-7) possessed strengths similar to Millikan's, with good skill and propensity to play on the ground, with one-touch passing, possession and a buildup into attack. They answered Johnson's fifth-minute opener -- he quickly knocked home the rebound after Cougars goalkeeper Eric Kam dived to save William Lane's header -- within a minute thanks to Joe Hernandez's stunning, bending bullet that flared out of Millikan keeper Steven Barrera's reach and into the far-post side netting.

That was it for Ventura.

Johnson scored his second in the 14th minute, Jaime Salazar made it 3-1 in the 24th, Silva got the fourth in the 30th, and Luis Ortega netted the fifth just before halftime.

“I saw film of them,” Petkovic said, “and I told the kids, 'They're very solid every position. But we're better. We're faster, we're more skillful, and it's going to show today,' and the kids played really well.”

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PREPS: Ventura conquers Marina's D

February, 29, 2012
2/29/12
4:01
PM PT

Ventura High School's boys soccer team had scored 99 goals in its first 29 games. Marina's had conceded eight in its first 27. When the teams faced off in Tuesday's CIF Southern Section Division I semifinal, the advantage went to the Cougars.

J.J. Leon scored a goal and assisted another -- delivering a cross for Erick Sandoval -- to send Ventura (23-0-7) to a 2-0 victory over their Huntington Beach-based foe (18-3-7) and into Saturday night's final against second-seeded Millikan (25-2-4).

The Rams, from Long Beach, rallied from a two-goal deficit after just 15 minutes to tie Los Angeles' Loyola (22-4-6) in the other D1 semi, then prevailed on penalties when Steven Barrera made two saves in the shootout.

Millikan, in its second final in four years, received goals from Kyle Nicolau before halftime and Jaime Salazar in the closing minutes.

In other CIF Southern Section boys semifinals:

Capistrano Valley 2, La Sierra 1: The Cougars (11-12-4), from Mission Viejo, scored twice in the final three minutes to upset Riverside's La Sierra (18-5-5) and reach their second straight Division 2 final. Kevin Baboiyan knocking home the rebound when Eagles goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez saved Dylan Browning's penalty kick, and Browning netted the winner a minute later, appearing to deflect the ball into the net with his upper arm.

Valley View 2, Coachella Valley 1: Danny Rivas scored with four minutes to go in regulation to tie the score and Miguel Hernandez tallied in overtime to lead the second-seeded Eagles (19-2-6), from Moreno Valley, to a 2-1 Division 2 triumph at Thermal's Coachella Valley (14-7-1).

Paramount 3, Santa Ana Valley 1: Tommy Osorio scored in the fourth minute, Danny Garcia in the 15th, and the second-seeded Pirates (21-4-3) continued their quest for a third successive Division 3 championship. It was Paramount's third postseason victory over the Falcons (17-8-2) in three seasons, including a triumph en route to the Southern California Regional championship -- the closest thing California has to a state title -- two years ago.

Channel Islands 2, Palmdale 0: Everaldo Fernandez converted a 62nd-minute penalty kick and Hector Mottu scored nine minutes later as the Raiders (19-2-4), from Oxnard, toppled Palmdale (25-4-0) in a Division 3 clash.

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