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Beach Defeats League Champion in Opener

By Bill Butler, Special to the Independent

Laguna opened the 2013 Orange Coast League boys soccer season with a stunning 3-0 upset of defending league champion Saddleback (8-2-1)  this past Wednesday night at Guyer Field. Roadrunners were fresh off a tie with Loyola last week and held a lofty No. 3 ranking in the latest Southern Section CIF Division 5 poll.

Junior Willy Wheeler opened the scoring in the first half with a quick footed kick that plowed into the upper net, with the assist coming from senior Reece Barton.  In the second half, Saddleback pressured the strong Breaker defense that includes sophomores Evan Williams and Zack Jacobs, junior Rory Saunders, and seniors Grifan Fair and Adam Farsheed.  But the Breaker defense held firm, and fullback sophomore Tobie Grierson made an athletic stop of a ball heading towards a net opening, to stop what appeared to be a sure goal in the beginning of the second half.

While the defense was holding, the offense was consistently pressuring the goal, with numerous near misses.  Junior Chris Tellez nailed the victory shut with a powerful kick from 25 yards out that flew directly over the Saddleback goalies head, who had no time to react.  The assist came from sophomore Harrison Gregory.  The Breakers continued to press hard, and junior Jake Hexberg sealed the deal with a goal, with a co-assist from Barton and Chris Tellez.

Bryce Williamson made 12 saves and consistently delivered the ball to fellow Breakers on goal kicks and goalie throws.  The Breakers have only given up 4 goals this season, while scoring 27.  The game was rough, and 11 yellow cards were issued in total:  six to Laguna Beach and five to Saddleback, but in the end the two teams game together and shook hands, knowing that they will meet again at Saddleback later in the Season.  The Breakers are now 6-0-2, while Saddleback is 8-2-2.

The junior varsity beat the visiting Saddleback team 1-0.  The goal came from junior Michael Santana, who used his speed to breakaway and score, after receiving a great leading pass from freshman Drake Butler.  Goalie Dante Amadeo recorded 16 saves, and repeatedly put Saddleback on its heels with his powerful punts.  The JV team is 1-0 in league play.

Bill Butler is a local parent.

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