who were able to outlast the fourth-seeded Spartans in overtime, 3-2, in
a second-round CIF Southern Section Division IV match Thursday.
"We didn't play as focused as we do at home," La Canada Coach Louie
Bilowitz said. "That's going to happen when you're so young."
La Canada (16-3-2), which is a technical team that relies on short
passes, was fortunate that Valley Christian's field was in outstanding
shape following major rainfall just a day earlier.
But the field and an extra day of rest didn't help the Spartans.
"We didn't play to our style on a field that fits us," Bilowitz said.
La Canada, once it got into its rhythm, was the more dominant team in
the first half.
Early on Spartan defender Eric Irvine was holding his own against
Crusader forward Matt Hess, who entered the match with 62 goals this
On the otherhand, it was La Canada's lone senior, Britton Cobb, who
was the player that was creating the goal-scoring opportunities.
Cobb and Bassam Khan almost connected in the 20th minute, but Khan's
shot went just over the goal as Valley Christian goalie Kevin Brandon
collided with him.
Continuing to attack in Valley Christian's end, Cobb scored La
Canada's first goal in the 28th minute, as he took a ball in the midfield
and fired a shot from well outside the box. Fortunately for the Spartans,
it was solid and in the lower left corner, giving Brandon no chance at a
The Crusaders tied the score in the 38th minute, as Kenneth Brandon
kicked in a loose ball off a corner kick.
Valley Christian took a 2-1 lead in the 45th minute, as Hess broke
away from Irvine and was able to dribble around La Canada goalie Mike
Kotick, who had come out to make a diving save.
Cobb wasn't about to let his team go down, however.
Seven minutes later, he took a throw-in from the middle of the field
and proceeded to dribble all the way to the edge of the goal box, when he
passed off to Nick Marquand, who put the ball in the left corner of the
Valley Christian, which has 14 seniors on its team, appeared to less
fatigued toward the end of regulation, but could not score.
La Canada nearly took the lead four minutes into overtime as Marquand
crossed the ball on the left side to Cobb, who headed the ball to Khan,
who almost got the ball in past Brandon.
Valley Christian scored what turned out to be the winning goal on a
counter-attack as Hess and center midfielder Rick Wade played a give and
go, with Hess finishing in similar fashion to his first goal.